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Circle Sentencing as a Shaming Sanction.

Menzel, Kenneth
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) Restorative Justice Online. Washington, DC: PFI Centre for Justice and Reconciliation. Downloaded 22 November 2005.

The idea of shaming may conjure images from literature (Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter) or real life (publication of the names of those who solicit prostitutes) of acts of shaming that stigmatize a person as deviant, often long after the offense and formal sanction. In this approach to shaming there appears to be little or no attempt to reintegrate the offender in the course of or after the sanction of shaming. Kenneth Menzel distinguishes this from the approach taken by many Native American communities in North America which practice circle sentencing. Circle sentencing, writes Menzel, is a form of shaming. Yet it is a holistic approach emphasizing healing of victims, accountability and reintegration for the offender, and community involvement in addressing the offense or conflict. Circle sentencing can be considered a form of restorative justice, Menzel claims. In this paper, Menzel explores circle sentencing as a shaming sanction and as a form of reintegration.


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