Public humiliation most effective form of punishment


Since the beginning of time, humans have relied on the positive encouragement of their peers.

There are entire industries created for the sole purpose of bettering oneself in the public eye, so it only seems obvious that some legal punishments would best be resolved through public humiliation.

Beginning in the colonial ages, humiliation has been served as punishment for various crimes.

Several examples are in classic novels like, “The Scarlet Letter” and “The Crucible.”

While the crimes are not punishable in current times, the fact remains the same. I doubt either party ever went on to have illegitimate children or do anything that resembled witchcraft again.

Governmental officials in Thailand recently modified the practice of humiliation as a form of punishment. In Bangkok, police officers caught committing petty misdemeanors now will be forced by the police administration to wear a hot pink “Hello Kitty” armband around their biceps for the remainder of the day after committing such a crime.

Offenses deemed worthy of this form of punishment range from littering to parking in a prohibited area or arriving late to work.

According to CNN, the Thai government said it is having problems controlling the number of petty offenses made by police officers. This was their way of combating this problem.

The humiliation received in a workplace environment is nowhere near as effective as public humiliation; nevertheless, the officers are not required to wear them in public. By keeping the officers in the station, the act loses effectiveness.

Under the UN Charter, public humiliation has been deemed cruel and unusual punishment, but this ruling needs to be overturned.

Recently the American public has witnessed the DUI arrests of Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.

While this is generally a common offense occurring more often than we realize, the situation was blown into a much bigger and more public ordeal by the American media.

The lesson was driven home much more effectively through the constant repetition of their drunken mistakes over the World Wide Web, and through newspapers, television and radio.

Recently senior tight end Rashaad Norwood was featured in several news outlets because of his multiple arrests.

Student athletes are celebrities on campus. If Norwood’s name had not been well known on campus prior to his arrests, this situation may have gone relatively unnoticed.

No matter the crime, the punishment involved is humiliating especially to public figures.

But how much more intimidated would the common person be if everyone could expect to be broadcast like celebrities and well-known figures?

College students personally display their lives over many Internet outlets like, and we generally agree it is appropriate to display the personal information of sex offenders and violent criminals over a public-service Web site.

Obviously, we are well on our way to making this a socially acceptable idea.

Over the past 20 years, according to the annual state expenditure reports, the Kansas Department of Corrections has increased spending from $60 million to $264 million, while the prison population has increased by 20 percent.

By implementing public humiliation as a way of solving small offenses, space would open up in state prisons that people who have committed minor misdemeanors.

This social action potentially could lessen the load on jails and lower taxpayer contributions to incarceration facilities.

Cassaundre Braden is a freshman in public relations. Please send comments to