Shame, Culture, and American Criminal Law

65 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2015

See all articles by Toni M. Massaro

Toni M. Massaro

University of Arizona College of Law

Date Written: March 24, 2015


The resort to formal shaming as a criminal sanction is only one of several attempts to expand the sentencer's arsenal in an effective, inexpensive manner. Formal shaming, however, is perhaps the most sensational of these new penalties. It also exploits, in a particularly dramatic and explicit fashion, the assumed link between people's sense of shame and their tendency to observe legal norms. The purpose of this Article is to analyze whether this link is one that American criminal court judges can, or should, exploit.

Keywords: shame, sentencing, punishment, criminal sanction, alternative punishment

Suggested Citation

Massaro, Toni Marie, Shame, Culture, and American Criminal Law (March 24, 2015). 89 Michigan Law Review 1880 (1991); Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper. Available at SSRN:

Toni Marie Massaro (Contact Author)

University of Arizona College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-626-2687 (Phone)
520-621-9140 (Fax)

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