Condemn the Crime, Not the Person

Published: 2019-11-18 09:30:00
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Condemn the Crime, Not the Person by June Tangney is an essay that focuses on the alternative approaches of punishing an offender other being locked behind bars. The authors argues that a jail term for any victim only exposes them to a feeling of shame and being perceived by the society as a bad person who cannot do anything to convince the community otherwise (Tangney, 2007). Shame, according to Tangney only worsens the already bad situation. Further, it leads to a defensive approach that is not any close to a corrective behavior that caused the shame. This is not the same case when a person feels guilty about engaging in unacceptable behavior. Guilt thus makes an individual to feel bad (Tangney, 2007). Having a feeling of shame does not bring to an end engaging in a wrongful behavior or an attempt to amend the situation. Tangney expresses the concern that no other punishment is more effective than community service sentences that are in concurrent with the nature of crime a person is involved in (Tangney, 2007). for example, a drunk driver can be sentenced to take part in clearing sites of road accidents and participate in campaigns that aim at reducing drunken driving (Tangney, 2007). The idea, has however, faced criticism by others arguing that it would cheapen the value of honorable volunteer activity. Further, it has been argued that it may not benefit the victims in whatever way (Tangney, 2007).

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The substitute offered by Tangney in her article has been referred to as guilt sentencing. Through this approach, the author believes that the state and the public at large will be in a position to reduce expenses incurred as a result such crimes and further save the prison scarce space (Tangney, 2007). Additionally, the offender will conceptualize the feeling that they engaged in a bad thing and not that they are bad people. This is far much different from shaming that has been proven scientifically escalate a destructive pattern of behavior (Tangney, 2007). Tangney therefore, suggests that shame sentencing could be cheap but not as effective as it is perceived to be. Shame sentencing according to the author of the article results into repeated problems that could further end up into minor or major criminal activities (Tangney, 2007). Guilt sentencing allows the offender an opportunity to mould their mind and understand that it is the decision that they made that is bad and not themselves. There hence, they can overcome the situation and benefit the society in future (Tangney, 2007). Tangney challenges the view of her critics by stating that any community service volunteer that is honorable would readily welcome such constructive changes. The idea incorporates one of the significant steps of rehabilitation process that it is the activity that the offender engaged into that was bad and not personality. I do agree with the views presented by the author.

In conclusion, a society should avoid being cheap but instead venture into approaches that are beneficial to an individual who did slip up. The offender require assistance to be reinstated into the right path without incurring other extreme costs that could result into mental destructive of incarceration. Guilt sentencing in that matter has been more appropriate scientifically than shame sentencing as it encourages an individual benefit the society through engaging in community services. This would not be the same case when an offenders name is published in a newspaper

References

Tangney, J. (2007). Condemn the Crime, Not the Person. Short Essays for Composition, 569.

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