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Menzel, Kenneth. Circle Sentencing as a Shaming Sanction

At its heart, circle sentencing is a form of shaming. In the presence of the victim of her crime, her peers, and the community at large, an offender must own up to the wrongful conduct in which she engaged. By personally publicizing her criminal act, an offender can expect to feel markedly embarrassed, decidedly shaken, and wholeheartedly regretful. Thus, instilling shame upon the offender is a major purpose of circle sentencing. At the same time, however, the shame instilled upon the offender lasts no longer than the length of that particular circle sentencing episode. By virtue of the personalized nature of the sentence, the legitimacy of the sentence giver, and the atmosphere conducive to apology, the offender is reincorporated back into the community without any lingering badge of dishonor. Simply put, the shame placed upon the offender, while great, is also finite and is ultimately lifted in favor of community reintegration.

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