Back to RJ Archive

The Use of ‘Shame’ With Sexual Offenders

McAlinden, Anne-Marie
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) British Journal of Criminology. 45: 373-394.

This article explores the use of shaming mechanisms with sexual offenders, particularly those who offend against children. Shaming — a central concept in the broader theory of restorative justice — may be of two varieties. The first — ‘disintegrative shaming’ — characterizes the traditional retributive framework of justice and is evident in recent state-led and popular responses to the risk posed by released sexual offenders. Far from ensuring offender integration, the net result is often labelling, stigmatization, ostracism and a return to offending behaviour. The second — ‘reintegrative shaming’ — affirms the offender’s membership within law-abiding society. This has been used in several jurisdictions as the basis of restorative support and treatment networks for sexual offenders where the community works in partnership with state and voluntary agencies. Contrary to arguments put forward by critics of restorative justice, this article argues that such cases may be particularly suitable for a restorative approach. (Author’s abstract).


AbstractCourtsSex OffenseStatutes and Legislation
Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now