Democracy on Display: A Case for Public Sanctions

Zachary Baron Shemtob


October 14, 2013

The Howard Journal, Vol 52 No 4. September 2013

This article begins by discussing the work of Jason Brennan, who argues that voter ignorance is inherently and instrumentally problematic to democratic governance. I then apply this point to the contemporary criminal justice system and penology. I argue that voters’ lack of knowledge here is both unjust on those punished and, using the recent work of William J. Stuntz and others, has resulted in egregious consequences. The majority of the article focuses on the advantages and disadvantages of public punishments, concluding that such sanctions have great potential to challenge citizens’ ignorance of our penal system. Ultimately, the goal is not to offer any sort of definitive conclusion, but to begin a long-overdue discussion on the role of public ignorance in our broken prison system, and one way in which such ignorance might be dispelled.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 15

Keywords: Punishment, Shaming Sanctions, Democracy

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Date posted: October 15, 2013 ; Last revised: October 6, 2015

Suggested Citation

Shemtob, Zachary Baron, Democracy on Display: A Case for Public Sanctions (October 14, 2013). The Howard Journal, Vol 52 No 4. September 2013. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2340123 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2340123

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Zachary Baron Shemtob (Contact Author)
Independent ( email )
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