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The practice of reintegrative shaming in mental health court.

Dollar, Cindy Brooks
June 4, 2015

Source: (2013) Criminal Justice Policy Review. Published online before print November 8, 2013, doi: 10.1177/0887403413507275.

Scholars and practitioners have renewed their interest in recognizing and designing restorative justice programs. Although these programs often provide successful outcomes, we know relatively little about why they work. Reintegrative shaming theory provides a lens by which to explain successful outcomes. This study uses over three years of direct observations to examine the practice of reintegrative shaming in a mental health court (MHC). We organize our findings around four primary components of reintegrative shaming outlined by Makkai and Braithwaite: respectful disapproval, disapproving the behavior rather than the individual, rejecting deviance as a master status, and ceremonial decertifications of deviance. Our data demonstrate that reintegrative shaming in MHC is largely accomplished through interactions with the judge, although the unique organization of the MHC, including their small caseloads, use of separate dockets, and pre-court team meetings, advance the court’s use of reintegrative shaming. (author’s abstract)


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