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Crime, Shame and Reintegration

Braithwaite, John
June 4, 2015

Source: (1989) New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

A theory suggests that the key to crime control is cultural commitments to reintegrative shaming of lawbreakers. Societies with low crime rates are those that shame potently and judiciously; individuals who resort to crime are those insulated from shame over their wrongdoing. However, shame can be applied injudiciously and counterproductively. Shaming is more likely to be reintegrative in communitarian societies, where it results in low crime rates. In contrast, shaming that stigmatizes makes criminal subcultures more attractive and is crime-producing. Research and policy implications of the theory are explored.


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