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Testing Braithwaite’s Theory of Reintegrative Shaming Through Data on the Circle Sentencing Program in the Yukon

Percival, Christel Skinner
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Ph.D. dissertation, Social Welfare, University of Hawai’i.

Hypotheses based on Braithwaite’s (1989) theory of reintegrative shaming were analyzed through data on the circle sentencing program in the Yukon Territory (Canada). Circle sentencing was introduced in 1992 primarily for sentencing First Nation (Aboriginal) offenders. Secondary data were collected on the outcome for 164 offenders and 10 communities who were involved between 1992 and 1997. Recidivism data were collected on offender contacts with the justice system for three years following initial circle sentencing. Fifty-three percent of offenders were convicted of further crimes. Recidivism increased to 68% when criminal charges and/or days incarcerated were included.
Interdependency characteristics of offenders were predictor variables: age; gender; marital status; educational level; and employment status….
None of the regression models were found to be significant. Therefore, Braithwaite’s
(1989) theory did not describe the circle sentencing program practiced in the Yukon.
Limitations of the application of theory may include: 1) lack of opportunities and resources for offenders; 2) alcohol use by 95% of the population; 3) inadequate follow-up and support; 4) failure to adequately shame (accountability); and 5) historical and cultural damage. Community participation in planning initiatives would ensure innovations reflected community needs. Additional explanations could be the unique characteristics of the Yukon communities, especially with high levels of population mobility and population changes. Author’s abstract.


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