This story is not an isolated incident – judges in several states are using public shaming as part of the sentence. Thieves are forced to carry a sign in front of a stores. Other convicted criminals carry signs with them wherever they go. Others have to take out ads detailing their crimes. A convicted murderer, in addition to serving time, was forced to carry a picture of the victim.
Some have called this excessive, others compare it to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘scarlet letter.’
Some, including the judges who hand down these sentences, defend this practice, saying it is a form of justice as well as a crime deterrent. Is this biblical justice? In the Old Testament law we do see public spitting as a form of public disgrace — usually for adultery, divorce, or not caring for a brother’s widow. In some cases the offender was banned from the camp for a period of isolation.
Read this story and consider whether or not public shame is a just punishment for crime.