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Crime in the Society

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Crime in the Society



            Crime and criminal acts are considered as one of the issues that must be given consideration by the government and other authorities. There are various ways in which crime can be solved and different theorists that give explanation on how crime can be solved and how it can be eliminated or just lessened in the society.  As mentioned by Braithwaite (2000), crime rates in the society can be lowered if shame is communicated and conveyed efficiently and effectively.  Primarily, the main goal of this paper is to show how restorative theory can be applied to recidivism among domestic violence perpetrators. In addition, this will also discuss the comparison in terms of labeling theory when considering recidivism among batterers.  

Shame and Crime Rate in Society

            Authors like Braithwaithe (2000), have mentioned that crime rates in the society can be lessen if shame is being conveyed effectively.  It is said that people who do criminal acts have a lot of violence of criminal act is not shameful, high rates of abusing women, or children if rape is something that the abuser can brag regarding.  There are many societies which have proven to have lower crime rates because of using reintegrative shaming. For instance, Nanante is an example of a foundation of reintegrating shaming which deals with crime in a ritual manner and done it seriously but reintegrative way. Moreover, Japan which is a developed country with a developed society has been considered to have the heaviest toughness on reintegrative shaming as an alternative ways of outcasting or humiliating offenders or criminals. Japan has been considered to have lower crime rate and is the only country where the evidence shows a sustained decline the rate of crimes over the last years.  Such can be seen with their low imprisonment rate of 37 per 100,000 people as compared to over 500 in the United States (Masters, 1995).  In addition, studies also show that Japanese schools consider reintegrative approach for controlling and handling delinquency (Masters, 1997).

            In some western nations, the government try to deal with violence through another violence that those who do criminal acts can sometimes deserve to suffer more and die for it, but this approach is very complicated.  Unfortunately, the ethnographic proof is that criminals in the USA often note that they are agents of justice, who try to purify the world of the evil person which they are wasting (Katz, 1988). If someone has done something wrong, the individuals who are in the utmost position to communicate the context of shamefulness are those people whom the offender's love. 

Restorative theory

            Restorative theory is considered to be the most essential crime prevention inference among other theories.  Accordingly, the Nanante as well as the disciplinary approach used in Japanese schools are examples on how restorative theory has been considered and has been working in the civil society.  Restorative theory gives utmost importance with civil society than the state. Schools, families as well as indigenous communities and societies are the pre-eminently essential field for restorative theory in the society for stopping crimes of the powerless people. Work environments are the most essential area of restorative theory to stop criminal acts done by those in power. In the most recent period, state considers restorative theory as a substitute to court have become increasingly essential and significant in the criminal justice systems of all Western nations and societies and other parts of the world. In lieu with this, Canada has presented considerable leadership for using this theory (Braithwaite, 2001). Restorative theory referred to ways on restorating victims, restoring criminal offenders and wrongdoers and restoring the entire communities. Such objectives give emphasis over punishment. Herein, key and major values of restorative theory are noted as healing rather than hurting, making amends, respectful dialogues, caring as well as participatory community, taking accountability, remorse, apology and most especially forgiveness. Restorative theory is also known to be a procedure which aims on bringing together all those involved in the crime or criminal acts, such as victims, criminals and their peers and loved ones, and also the representatives of the state as well as the community to be able to come up with the decision of doing the right thing regarding criminal offence (Braithwaite, 2001).  

The First Nations of North America have strong customs and beliefs of restorative theory which are being refreshed and revived through healing circles or sentencing circles. Such circles conventionally put the issue, not the individual, in the centre of a community dialogue regarding a crime (Melton, 1995).  In the entire Canadian provinces and some states in America, European-Americans are learning from the restorative theory wisdom of the first American countries. Circle procedures are being established as richly applicable and useful to individuals brought up in a European society.  There is petition in the sheer simplicity of the prey or the injured party as well as their loved ones, criminals and wrongdoers and also their loved ones and caring members of the society sitting in a circle to talk about and examine the cost of a crime and what can be the right thing to do to make things right.  In this process, the last stage is the part in which agreement is reached. In this stage, the offender will sign the agreement along with the offender and the authorities.

The notion is that if such agreement is initiated, there will be no need for those parties to go and settle at the court. The agreements may come into forms of compensation payments to victims, community work, asking of apology, undertaking to enter rehabilitation institutions if the offender is using drugs, surrender of weapons or ownership of a motor vehicle and others.   Most programs are finding ways to reduce the rate of imprisonment through the proceess of pre-trial diversion. However, others cut in at more advance phases of the criminal justice procedure. For instance, John Howard Society of Manitoba initiated a program which has mostly limited to running restorative theory conferences in  situations in which prosecutor has already suggested prison time for the criminals of more than six  months (Bonta, Rooney and Wallace-Capretta, 1998). Herein, the notion is to identify if the meeting can come up with a negotiation which will convince the judge or the authority to keep the offender out of prison. Such approach seems to be having some success in meeting the objective.

            Various studies have been done in different countries to determine the efficacy of restorative theory. It can be said that the results of these studies are most encouraging (Braithwaite, 2003), however, it is far too early for criminologists and other theorists to be able to establish a regulation as to whether it will really work as an effective way of giving justice. It is said that the reintegrative shaming theory predicts that restorative theory will be more efficient than criminal trials in dropping crime because by putting the issue rather than the person in the centre, straight denunciation by an individual who you do not respect like the police officers and judge is being avoided. In the same manner, shame is difficult to prevent when a victim as well as the supporters, and family of the wrongdoer, all talk through the cost and penalty which have been suffered, materially and also emotionally, as a result of the criminal act.  Such discussion of the cost gives shame into restorative theory. The presence as well as the support of the loved ones and other concern people can structure reintegration into the process. If the theory is right, this simple approach of discussing the consequences and penalty of a crime and what to do regarding them will be more efficient than purposive shaming. In this regard, when “shame on you” is mentioned at stigmatizing, the forecast is that it will make crime even worse. Herein, the purpose is to get the offender or the criminal themselves to acknowledge shame by apologizing and making amends.  In this regard, as mentioned by Scheff and Retzinger (2000), it is better than by-passing shame, leaving disgrace and humiliation to fester below the surface in an unhealthy manner.  

Application Restorative theory to Recidivism among Perpetrators of Domestic Violence

The family is known to be a social institution and also regarded as the basic unit of the society which give emphasis on happiness, liberty, equality, as well as prosperity for all its members and the society it belongs. However, family are also subject of some issues which include domestic violence in which there are still many perpetrators in the world that do violent as well as criminal act. In a study conducted by Shipway (2004), it has been mentioned that domestic violence is known as any hurtful or unwanted behaviour done upon an individual by an intimate or prior intimate people who normally is characterized by physical, psychological and emotional abuse. It is based on the victim-criminal or wrongdoer relationship in the form of marriage, romantic relationships, family ties, or a former marriage. Domestic violence includes abusive behaviour and act within same-sex relationships, violence by women against men as well as violence and abuse perpetrated by one family member against another (Shipway, 2004). However, studies show that most situations of domestic violence which occurred have been on women as well as children (Dobash & Dobash, 1992; Humphreys et al., 2000).

Some theorists have made the most essential theoretical perspectives, to the integration of restorative theory (Scheff, 1999). The subject is regarding shame which is considered as both fundamental to the comprehension of restoration process and as therapeutically destructive.   The key and critical context of the theory crime, shame and restorative theory is attributed with shaming (Braithwate, 1989). As mentioned in this theory, societies can have lower crime rates if they are able to communicate shame regarding crime efficiently.  Herein, it mentioned that there will be more violence if violent acts and behaviour is now shameful, high rates if rape issues is something that people can brag and show off, endemic white collar crime issues if professionals and business people think law-breaking is bright and intellectual rather than shameful.

This means that there are ways of communicating the shamefulness of crime which increases the rates of crime. Such is known as stigmatization. Accordingly, shaming, communicated shame to the perpetrator in a manner which encourages a person to desist; stigmatization shames in a manner which makes things be worst.  In the restorative theory, communicating shame can convey disapproval within a continuum of respect for the perpetrator; The criminal is treated as a positive individual who has done unwanted deed. On the other hand, sstigmatization is disrespectful shaming; the criminal or wrongdoer is being left with such stigma permanently, while the other aspect of shaming is forgiving, Ceremonies to recognize the deviance are terminated by ceremonies which decertify deviance.  In the aspect of societies, it can be said that societies which are forgiving as well as respectful while taking crime seriously and critically have low crime rates; those societies and communities which degrade and humiliate offenders have higher crime rates (Braithwaite 2001).

According to Harris (2001), he mentioned that at its foundation, reiterative shaming is not an aspect with two opposing ideas, as the theory recommends. Stigmatization and reintegration are noted to be orthogonal rather than polar opposites in the reality of the world of Restorative theory System. In addition, Harris (2001), also noted that guild as well as shame are not isolated and separated dimensions in a factor analysis of the emotions and feelings stirred by criminal processing. A more crucial division is among the guilt/shame as well as exposure and embarrassment.  Think of the differences crudely as the negative emotion that people feel when he or she have done something wrong as divergent to the rather different bad feeling that people think when exposed nakedly.

It has been found out that embarrassment as well as exposure of shame is higher in court that in restorative approach, while shame and guild is higher in restorative theory conferences than in court.  Like just in the respect of the works of the theorists, a need for revision of such theory is considered, in other contexts, the research supports such theory.   People and various individuals suspect now that theorists have revealed a more slight and delicate ethical identity perception of guilt and shame which might have special explanatory as well as normative power in line with the crime or other serious offence and serious wrongdoing. It can be said that it is easiest to comprehend the normative level. What people and various individuals had thought people wanted criminal or wrongdoers to feel shameful regarding what they had committed and done, but not being shameful regarding themselves (Scheff, 1999).

People and various individuals think this may be noted as a normative error. If for instance in a domestic violence, the father abuses the child or is repeatedly convicted for serious assaults, would you think, this would be enough for him to feel that he has committed bad behaviour and act(s) but there is nothing wrong with him as a person. This may seem more morally satisfactory for such individual to feel that he has committed negative actions and therefore feels the person must change the kind of person he is in some essential manners or essential and significant ways (while still on the whole believing he is basically a positive person). That is, People and various individuals do not want the rapist to believe he is an irretrievably evil person; but People and various individuals do want aspects of the self to be transformed. Harris's guilt and shame factor seems to capture empirically the nub of this halfway house of an ethical ideal. To a considerable extent you can't experience guilt regarding criminal act without such spoiling into feeling ashamed of an individual. As long as this do not go far as to involve a total rejection of yourself, this now seems to people is appropriate morally and ethically, at least for some serious crimes.  People and various individuals have noted that in some of the customs and conventions and customs and beliefs with the strongest customs and conventions of restoration or healing following wrongdoing, there is an explicitness of engagement to the halfway house of guilt as well as shame emergent in the research made by theorists. For instance, in Japanese customs and beliefs, apology can lead to dissociation of that evil aspect of such self that committed a criminal behaviour or negative behaviour.  Japanese idiom sometimes noted mistakes and wrongdoing with possession by a "mushy" (bug or worm). In this regard, criminals are thus, not acting in line with their true selves; they are under attack by a mushy which can be "sealed off ' helping and letting reintegration without enduring shame (Winslade, drewery and Hooper, 2000). In addition, another customary belief with especially rich restorative achievements and deed through its peacemaking customs and conventions is Navajo Indian customs and conventions and customs and beliefs in the America. The Navajo’s context of nayéé' is an interesting aspect of this achievement. Accordingly, nayéé' or "monsters" are anything that gets in the manner of an individual enjoying his or her life, which include obsession and jealousy and depression. Accordingly, monsters are considered as anything which gets in the way of individual enjoying his or her life like obsession, jealousy and depression.  The advantage of naming something a monster is that the source of an illness leaving an individual to be unhappy and dysfunctional.  On the other hand, healing rituals are about helping individual to get rid of such monster (Braithwaite, 2001) .

The findings have revealed some evidence and proof for the reliability as well as the validity of these measures of reintegrative shaming. Accordingly, shaming was noted to foresee and predict guilt and shame but only when it was by people the criminal or wrongdoer are highly respected. In addition, guilt and shame was predicted by the criminal or wrongdoer's perception that the offense or the behaviour was wrong. Guilt and shame was also predicted by perceptions of having been reintegrated and perceptions of not having been stigmatized. It is argued that guilt and shame should be understood as a product of social influence in which internalized values, normative expectations and social context have an effect. In contrast to guilt and shame, embarrassment/exposure and unresolved shame people and various individuals are predicted by perceptions of having been stigmatized and the belief that the offense was less wrong. This highlights the importance of distinguishing between the shame-related emotions. So does the finding that guilt and shame was greater in Restorative theory Conferences but that embarrassment-exposure was greater in court situations (Daly & Hayes, 2001).

Restorative theory principles as well as procedure are the most broadly advocated approach to increase access to criminal justice. Presently, restorative theory methods are for the most part too intertwined with the typical and conventional criminal justice system on the one hand, and pose critical challenges themselves, on the other, to be able to treat them as either a modern shift or a panacea. In many situations, Restorative theory is utilized as a “catchall” for a broader variety of disparate initiatives, in which various aspect have been launched within t he conventional approach in a manner consistent with the premises on which the normal and conventional system operates (Daly, 2003)

Most studies have failed to highlight the most essential queries about the effectiveness of restorative theory for recidivism, reintegrating the criminal into the community as well as equally significantly, do not adequately give emphasis on measuring  whether victims  are “better off” coordinating in a process with the perpetrators than in having their harm corrected and vindicated by the conventional processes.

It is not irrelevant whether Restorative theory is “better” than conventional approaches; costly though criminal justice may be proper implementation of restorative theory needs considerable resources. While the rhetoric may be appealing, the application is less so. Rather, as Daly (2003) and others have noted, neither the conventional system nor  Restorative theory may be always fair; both may be described and affected by race, class as well as gender biasness, in  one case hidden by the rules, in the other hidden by an overlay of humanitarian approach. And lastly, as argued, in a modern society it is necessary to have both the symbolic value of criminal justice, albeit perhaps only to the extent necessary to maintain the symbolism, as well as the discursive value of restorative theory. For victims and offenders, theorist’s advice to choose, in which plausible, the practice most suitable for their own objectives seems apposite. For authorities, the rush to “Restorative theory” needs to be tempered by a better comprehension of its effectiveness and its effects.


Comparison of Theory of Restorative theory to Labeling theory

Aside from restorative theory which aims on restoring the individual to solve criminal behaviour and issues, labelling theory is another criminological theory which should be given emphasis. People or offenders who are arrested, prosecuted and punished are being labeled or named as criminals. In this regard, other people view and treat such individuals as criminals, increasing the likelihood of subsequent crime for various reasons. Those people who have been labeled may have problems in getting legal and legitimate employment, which enhances their level of strain and lowered their stake in terms of conformity. Those people who are labeled may consider that traditional people are reluctant to be attached or connected with them, and they may be linked with other criminals eventually.

This decreases their attachment with other people and leads to social learning of crime. Generally, labeled criminals may eventually come to perceive themselves as criminals and act in line with this type of self-concept. Researchers have found that being officially labeled as criminal even arrested or convicted enhanced subsequent crime, while other researches did not. Previous theoretical research, nonetheless, has modified the theory to take into consideration past problems. In this regard, more emphasis is given informal labeling, which include labeling by peers, parents and teachers. Such aspect is noted have a greater impact on subsequent crime than the so-called official labeling. In a discussion by theorists the reasons why people may be informally labeled as criminals and delinquents, noting that such labeling is not merely a function of official labeling like arrest. It is said that informal labeling is also affected by the person’s criminal and delinquent behavior and by current position in society—with powerless people being more likely to be labeled like minority, lower-class, urban and adolescents.

In addition, it has also been argued that informal labeling impacted a person’s subsequent level of crime by impacting their views of how other people look at them and see them. If they believe that others see them as delinquents and trouble-makers, they are more likely to act in accord with this perception and engage in delinquency. Data provide some support for these arguments. According to Braithwaite (2000), labeling theory increases crime in some aspect and reduces it in other aspects. It increases subsequent crime if there is no effort made to reintegrate the criminal back into the traditional community, which is when criminals are rejected or informally labeled by the public in the long-term basis. However, labeling decreases subsequent crime if efforts are considered to reintegrate punished criminals in the community in which he belongs. Specifically, labeling tend to reduce crime when criminals are made to feel a sense of guilt or shame for what they have committed,  but are forgiven eventually and reintegrated back into conventional society or groups including e family peer groups.

This approach may happen through gestures or words of forgiveness or rituals to decertify the criminal as deviant. There seem major discrepancies between stigmatizing customs and beliefs such as these where the vague and subjective threat to individuals’ integrity of self is named to make it structured and solid, and able to be excised. Naming to excise a bad part of self creates very different action imperatives for a society from naming to label a whole self as bad (such as naming a person a junkie, criminal or schizophrenic). The former kind of shame can be discharged with the expulsion of the monster. The latter kind of stigma entrenches a master structure trait like schizophrenic that dominates all other identities. People and various individuals suspect that people can learn from other customs and conventions and customs and beliefs the possibility of healing a damaged part of a self that is mostly positive. This is the approach to which the conception and perspective of guilt and shame cues us. It specifically cues us to the possibility of healing a mostly positive and redeemable self due to the finding that both guilt and shame and reintegration are greater when situations are randomly assigned to a Restorative theory and approach. As predicted by the theory of reintegrative shaming, It has been found that conditions and phenomenon randomly assigned to Restorative theory crime rates are higher in shaming and reintegration but lower in stigmatization than conditions that went to court

Application of Both Theories to Recidivism among Batterers

Batterers are known to be the person who has committed criminal offense and criminal actions. Batterers are those individuals who can also be labeled as offenders or criminals. On the other hand, recidivism happens when there is a new arrest, conviction and commitment to custody. Restorative theory and labeling theory can be used recidivism among batterer. In line with restorative theory, proponents have claim association to much earlier understanding of criminal processes and crime. According to this theory, they also characterise the commission of crimes in line with the interpersonal or conflict that is happening in the family; hence, the goal of the restorative theory is to solve such conflict. In this manner, restorative theory may be associated to alternative dispute resolution procedures in the civil law context.  Relatively, the term restorative theory has been utilised to encompass various practices, which include arrangements that provide for the participation of victim, community involvement in dispute resolution, restitution, rehabilitative goals and others.

On the other hand, labelling theory can be used for batterer in a manner that the batterer can be labelled as criminals or offenders with his negative behaviour or criminal acts. It is likely to mention that labelling theory can considered in recidivism of batterer in a way that those who have been labelled by the public or the family can be considered as new arrest and conviction in the eyes of the conventional families and peers.


The evidence which have been shown in this discussion, presented that shame can be an effective way of reducing crime rate in a society. Through the consideration of restorative theory and labelling theory, individuals may be regarded and convicted as criminals which may lead to the destruction of their reputation in the community and to be considered as offenders which can experience rejection within the conventional society.  The bottom line is that, criminal justice system in the society can be done in court and in out of the court settlement provided that both parties (offenders and victims) agreed on a specific premise. Domestic violence is also considered as a criminal act and victims should be given enough justice. In this regard, recidivism is achieved by ensuring that criminal rates are being lowered through the aspect of reintegrative shame via restorative theory or even labelling theory. By and large, it can be said that criminal justice system can be solved in different ways with the guidelines brought by different criminological theories and approaches.  


Bonta, J., Wallace-Capretta, S., & Rooney, J. (1998) ‘Restorative Justice:An evaluation of the restorative resolutions project’. Winnipeg: Solicitor General Canada

Braithwaite, J (1989) CRIME, SHAME AND REINTEGRATION, (1989). Stigmatiztion is also a bad thing from a Therapeutic Jurisprudence perspective, see BRUCE WINICK, ne Side Effects of Incompetency Labeling, in THERAPEUTIC JURISPRUDENCE APPLIED supra, at note 1

Braithwaite, J. (2000) ‘Survey Article: Repentance rituals and restorative justice’. The Journal of Political Philosophy: Vol 8 No 1, pp115-131. 

Braithwaite, J. (2001) ‘Restorative Justice and a New Criminal Law of Substance Abuse’, Youth and Society, Vol 33, No 2, pp227-248. 

Braithwaite, J. (2003) ‘Restorative Justice and Social Justice’ in McLaughlin, E., Fergusson.R, Hughes, G. & Westmarland, L. (eds) Restorative Justice: Critical Issues, United Kingdom: Sage Publications, The Open University, pp157-163.

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Dobash, RE & Dobash, RP 1992, Women, Violence and Social Change, London and New York: Routledge.

Harris, N. (2001).  Part II — Shaming and Shame: Regulating Drink-Driving, in Shame Management through Integration.

Humphreys, C & Thiara, R 2002, Routes to Safety: Protection issues facing abused women and children and the role of outreach services, Bristol: Women's Aid Federation of England.

Katz, Jack 1988. Seductions of Crime: Moral and Sensual Attractions of Doing Evil. New York: Basic Books

Masters, Guy. 1995. “The Family Model of Social Control in Japanese Secondary Schools.” Unpublished Manuscript, Lancaster University.

Masters, Guy 1997. Reintegrative Shaming in Theory and Practice. PhD Dissertation, Lancaster University

Melton, Ada Pecos 1995. “Indigenous Justice Systems and Tribal  Society,” Judicature 126: 12

Scheff, TJ (1999). Community Conferences: Shame and Anger in Therapeutic. Jurisprudence, 67 REV. JUR. U.P.R. 97,

Scheff, T. & Retzinger, S. (2000) ‘Shame as the Master Emotion of Everyday Life, Journal of Mundane Behaviour, Vol 3, No 1. 

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