Penn State

Salih H. Can - Associate Professor of Administration of Justice, Penn State Schuylkill

Book Title: Crime, Shame and Reintegration

Author: John Braithwaite

Book Description:

In this book, author John Braithwaite integrates many traditional sociological theories of crime into a single viewpoint that explains why some societies have higher crime rates, why certain people are more likely to commit crime, and how communities can deal effectively with crime for the purposes of prevention. The author suggests that high rates of predatory crime in a society result from "failure to shame" perpetrators of criminal acts. Braithwaite argues that the breakdown of community ties in modern urban communities has meant that perpetrators of crime are not made to feel ashamed of their actions, and thus they continue to victimize others without remorse. He believes that when individuals are closely tied to family and community, they expect negative reactions for violation of community norms, they anticipate feeling shame, and they are deterred from committing crime. However, according to this theory, the "shaming" must be done in such a way as to be re-integrative so that it brings the offender back into the community, rather than disintegrative, which would push the individual even farther out of the community.

I selected this book by Braithwaite because my discipline, Criminal Justice Studies (CJS), suffers from three historical deficiencies: under-theorization, under-representation, and under-integration. The book offers a response to all three deficiencies to guide more “globally peaceful” societies.

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