Alternative sentencing and crime reduction1.In her article, “Condemn the Crime, Not the Person,” June Tangney states that guilt sentencing is a better alternative than public shaming to fight back minor crimes. Tangney explains the difference between shame and guilt as alternatives under a new scientific perspective. She recognizes in guilt and community services sentences a relevant juridical instrument that is less expensive? and correct the tendency of bad behavior. Tangney point to scientific evidence, to her credibility as author and researcher, to the organization of the article, to the details, which explain the consequences of each of the alternatives, to convince and persuade her readers.
However is exactly the fact that she uses only her job’s scientific research than sound non-convincing. Furthermore the author fails to fully understand and respond to the opinions of others. At the same time she does not consider that the alternative of guilt is not enough to resolve the problem of rehabilitation in root.2.Usually basing the work on facts and scientific research is a passport to credibility and a good chance to win the readers / audience goodwill (persuade readers?). In Tangney’s article the situation is a bit different because the author’s persona and ideas are blended in one.
As professor and researcher she refers to scientific evidence/research to describe the non-effectiveness of shaming that “often make a bad situation worse”(577) and to illustrate the differences between shame and guilt as “distinct emotion which very different implications for subsequent moral and interpersonal behavior” (577). Later as she refute the commentators who does not accept alternative penalties to incarceration she uses scientific research too, but all this references are based on her personal work and profession. There is no other strong statistics, data from different field of study, or experimental research, included that show and support what Tangney states about the benefits of guilt sentencing as more effective in the rehabilitation process. Thus the facts in her works are faded in somehow because her opinion is prevalent and not confronted by other ideas.3. Tangney is clear when observe that alternative sentences are not appropriate for every case but for minor and non-violent ones crimes that are not a threat for the public safety/security.
On the other hand because no other sources is included and considered she lack to adequately respond to who disagree with her. At the same way she does not consider the victim’s opinion and right to be compensate. She emphasizes the positive results that guilt sentencing have, focused on negative consequences, as it make people reflect and repair the violation. “How can we foster constructive feelings of guilt among American’s offenders? Well, one way is to force offenders to focus on the negative consequence of their behavior, particularly on the painful negative consequences for others.” (578). Well this may be true in lots of cases, but may not convince most of the victims of rubbery.
What the author did not consider is that guilt sentencing as alternative may result as vulnerable as shaming. For example if someone went in a store and stole (?) a watch. The thief know that what he /she did is wrong, but is he/she aware of the negative consequences it can have on others. Is the store’s owner happy and sure of having guilt sentencing? Does this kind of sentence satisfy the public opinion? In this sense shame and guilt may result in a desire outcome for the juridical system and less imprisonment, not for victims. In conclusion the author suggests welcoming such a constructive changing behavior in all the community service volunteer because seen as a social use.
However critics believe that communities will not benefit and it cheapens not only does not justified but lowers the value of what is seen as an honorable volunteer activity.4. Tangney’s focus on the behavior and constructive guilt sentence make her fail and not focus on the real problem that is “fix” the people and stop them committing(?) violation.
To have the results we wanted, less crimes and violations, we must work on people. By using alternative penalties is the problem solved or is just postpone, and superficially treated. Does the author give us statistics about the effectiveness, the reduced number of crimes after being sentenced with guilt? Of course the efficacy is hard to verified and estimate because it depends on more than one factors.
It depends on the person that has made the offence, on people’s character and the risk that this offender may represent for the community. The guilt sentence in this sense is a bonus that the good citizen is having from his past conduct. It can work with some individs but not with others. Other factor is the gravity of the violation.
The nature of the violation aggravates the transgressor’s position in front of the sentence. Crimes and recidivism rates may fluctuate(?) in time and not have a direct relation to use of the alternative sentencing. It needs years before a picture about it effectiveness can be complete While there is no evidence that alternative sentencing does increase recidivism, on the other there is not enough statistics that shows that reduce it.