The Conflict of Juvenile Shaming Punishments

Alicia N. Harden

excerpted from: Alicia N. Harden, Rethinking the Shame: the Intersection of Shaming Punishments and American Juvenile Justice, 16 U.C. Davis Journal of Juvenile Law & Policy 93 (Winter 2012) (250 Footnotes Omitted)

 

States are divided on the purposes of their juvenile justice systems, but most states still recognize the overarching need to treat juveniles differently from adults, recognizing rehabilitation as legitimate. Thus, despite changes in juvenile court systems from the idealized systems imagined by Progressives, some of the same ideas, goals, and protections are still present. Shaming punishments conflict with juvenile justice in four ways. First, shaming punishments are not proven deterrents for either adults or youths; by imposing criminal punishment instead of intervention and rehabilitative services, juvenile shaming punishments fail to promote penological goals and do not positively contribute to the intervention in the child's life. Second, shaming can place youths in emotionally and physically vulnerable positions. Third, sentencing juveniles to shaming punishments undermines the traditional foundations of confidentiality by creating public stigma for the offense. Finally, shaming punishments are generally inconsistent with the individual purposes states have announced as their stated goals for juvenile courts. The following sections detail these problems in more depth.


A. Ineffectiveness as a Deterrent

The true effectiveness of shaming punishments, either for adults or for juveniles, is unknown, and yet judges continue to use shame to punish both groups. Scholars have identified multiple reasons for shaming's popularity among judges, most notably shaming's potential effect as a deterrent. The potential for shaming sanctions to increase[] the costs associated with the arguably serves to prevent individuals from committing future criminal acts. The fear of similar punishment being imposed on others may deter witnesses to the shaming punishment may from committing criminal offenses Nevertheless, scholars are split on whether shaming sanctions are likely to be an effective deterrent, based mostly on theoretical accounts supported by selected anecdotal

Drawing upon sociological and anthropological research, Toni Massaro argues that dominant American culture and traditions fail to reflect the level of interdependence, strong norm cohesion, and robust communitarianism that is present in cultures where shaming operates as an effective deterrent. Essentially, the American cultural landscape does not embody the community norms necessary for people to witness the shaming punishments and integrate them into their rational thought processes. Shaming, according to Massaro, is successful in communities that publically announce their moral and behavioral expectations and that have closer-knit, less autonomous personal relationships; America's hands-off relationships that lack personal ties fail to meet these requirements.

John Braithwaite argues that shame can serve as an effective deterrent by implementing social control in two ways. First, because individuals generally crave social approval of significant others, they will be less likely to engage in criminal conduct if they face shame for their actions. Second, when individuals participate in the shaming of another, they often internalize the shame; internalization results in a pang of conscience that ultimately serves as an internal control independent of an external societal punishment. Braithwaite recognizes that the United States does not embody the traditional cultural norms that make shaming successful, but unlike Massaro, he is optimistic about its deterrent potential as compared to sanctions that do not denounce the offender.

Dan Kahan, initially a proponent of shaming for its potential deterrent effects, recently recanted his previous support for the sanction's ability to serve penological goals. In his recant, Kahan ultimately concludes that shame is afflicted with a social meaning handicap that, as a practical political matter, makes it an unacceptable alternative sanction for a significant and influential segment of our Kahan further argues that because shaming sanctions are deeply partisan, unlike the pluralistic appeal of incarceration, they cannot work effectively. Critics disagree with Kahan's new arguments, however, and argue he lacks empirical support for claiming partisanship and for turning to programs of restorative justice as an acceptable alternative to incarceration. Regardless of these scholars' arguments, the true effectiveness of shame as a deterrent remains undetermined.

Moreover, despite the debate over the deterrent effect of shaming sanctions imposed on adults, few scholars have considered shaming's effect on juveniles. As one commentator points out, for the cost-benefit argument propounded by Braithwaite to succeed, children would actually have to engage in a cost-benefit analysis before acting. This expectation is questionable because children and young adults rarely consider the consequences of their behavior before acting.

The dissenting Justices in In re Stanford recognized the cognitive limitations of juveniles, citing the case law, amicus briefs, and conclusions of a task force on juvenile sentencing policy. Justice Stevens's dissent notes: Adolescents are more vulnerable, more impulsive, and less self-disciplined than adults, and are without the same capacity to control their conduct and to think in long-range Scientific evidence has also shown that because youths' brains continue to develop throughout adolescence, they cannot reason like adults. Juveniles do not anticipate consequences and fail to minimize danger by exhibiting poor impulse control when presented with a variety of options. Therefore, a shaming punishment may fail as both a general and a specific deterrent. If youths do not think long-term, seeing a peer subjected to a shaming punishment is unlikely to affect their future conduct and will not generally deter them from committing future offenses. Furthermore, if juveniles cannot exercise impulse control and reasoned decision-making, a shaming punishment may not serve as an individual deterrent.

Given the scientific evidence demonstrating juveniles' lack of cognitive capabilities to engage in rational decision-making processes, it is unclear that shaming punishments will be effective deterrents for them. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these sanctions might serve as an effective individual deterrent, as several of the individuals sentenced to these punishments noted their remorse. Other offenders, however, like the young milk thief described at the beginning of this Article, were clearly not deterred.

It is also unclear whether a juvenile's conduct requires the same deterrence considerations as an adult's conduct. In 1988, a plurality of the Supreme Court held that irresponsible juvenile conduct is not as morally reprehensible as that of an Thus, if the conduct does not rise to a level commensurate of adult offenses, the sentence not need be the equivalent of an adult sanction. Although both the adult and juvenile systems seek rehabilitation as a goal, the logic behind a shaming sanction's potential to rehabilitate and deter adults is not present when dealing with juveniles.


B. State Results: General Observations and Specific Findings

Unlike a fine, probation, or even custody, judicially imposed shaming punishments often place juveniles in emotionally and physically vulnerable situations. Shaming creates public exposure for the offense, undermining the traditional confidential nature of juvenile justice. Anyone subjected to a shaming punishment that involves public exposure may feel emotionally or physically insecure, regardless of age. However, some articulations of these punishments may invite physical or verbal ridicule, or even risk of harm.

Because of their minor status, society presumes juveniles to be individuals in need of protection. As part of this protection, states recognize a legitimate interest in preserving a juvenile's anonymity. Thus, subjecting youths to punishments explicitly designed to expose the offender to public view and heap ignominy upon him in ways that fines and community service cannot generally undermines the foundations of juvenile justice. This section provides several examples of potentially vulnerable juvenile shaming punishments offers overarching summary conclusions.

1. Blind in One Eye: Vision Obstruction in Prison

In 1996, Zakee Chambers, a fifteen-year-old boy, hurled a rock into the windshield of a passing car, blinding the car's passenger, Andrea Hartmann, in her left eye. The Court sentenced Chambers to one year in the county jail and ordered him to pay restitution of twenty-four thousand dollars over the period of his twenty-nine year probation. The Court also sentenced him to a shaming punishment: during his one-year incarceration, Chambers wore an eye-patch for his waking hours. In handing down her sentence, Judge Cynthia Mackinnon stated the purpose of the shaming sanction: I think it's important for you to understand what this lady has gone through and will continue to go through for the rest of her Chambers apologized and admitted that he had failed to consider the consequences of his actions.

Chambers's shaming punishment was not the sole sanction he received, but its potential to create unacceptable susceptibilities remains unchanged. Because the court only allowed Chambers to remove the eye-patch when he slept, all of his movements throughout the jail were constrained by his ability to see out of only one eye. Thus, the potential for Chambers to bump into something or someone and injury himself, another, or property was increased. Further, the visibility of the eye-patch to everyone who encountered him could serve to advertise his crime, opening up the potential for teasing, retaliation, and other emotional confrontations. The additional shaming sanction of the eye-patch could have created an environment beyond physical discomfort that actually served to enhance the risk of physical and psychological, injury.

2. Shame Around the Neck: Picturing the Victim in a Locket

After a delinquent adjudication for involuntary manslaughter, the Court sentenced to twelve months probation with the conditions that he (1) visit and lay flowers on the victim's grave on the anniversaries of the victim's birth and death, (2) wear a necklace with the victim's picture on it, and (3) not participate in extra-curricular activities at school. On appeal, the court upheld all three conditions as reasonable under the state's statutory scheme, which provided that the court could impose probationary conditions that are related to the needs of the juvenile and . . . reasonably necessary to ensure that the juvenile will lead a law abiding

The dissenting judge criticized the majority for failing to consider the psychological impact of wearing the necklace on a daily basis in light of testimony that J.B. was depressed, withdrawn, learning disabled, and in grief counseling over the incident. The judge further denounced as irrelevant (in light of the state's emphasis on juvenile rehabilitation) the majority's discussion of what conditions it would have ordered if J.B. had been an adult. Although J.B.'s conditions did not mandate how he wore the picture, thus allowing him to wear it hidden from public view in a locket or under his clothing, the court forced J.B. to carry a daily reminder of his cousin's death. The potential psychological impact of this punishment cannot be underestimated, and the sanction directly contravenes the child saving mission of juvenile justice.

3. On the Cusp of Juvenility: The Shaming of Older Teens

Although neither case involved a minor, two other shaming sanctions demonstrate the potential for physical and emotional vulnerability with respect to older teens. In the first case, two nineteen-year-old Ohio residents stole a baby Jesus from a nativity scene and defaced it. Judge Michael Cicconetti, well known for his shaming punishments, ordered the pair to walk through their town with Sidney, a donkey from a local petting zoo, and a sign stating Sorry for the jackass offense. Several hundred local residents watched as the couple led the donkey through snowy streets for approximately thirty minutes. Although the pair's parade allowed them to reduce their time behind bars, Judge Cicconetti had other motives for imposing the punishment: This is a kind of conscience flogging . . . . It is intended to bring them some public The Ohio couple's walk exposed them to traffic, verbal insults and abuse, and violent reactions from the viewing public.

In another case, police busted up a toga party at the University of Massachusetts and charged the host, James Connolly, with underage drinking, noise violations, and other alcohol violations. As part of his punishment, Connolly had to don his toga and stand in front of the police station for an hour. Although Connolly was in a relatively safe environment in front of a police station, he wore nothing but a toga. In both cases, the court's punishment physically exposed young adults to the public and risked the potential for verbal and physical abuse.

4. Judge-Imposed Shaming Punishments May Damage Juveniles Emotionally and Physically

Most Judicially-imposed shaming punishments are often public in nature and can result in physical exposure, thus increasing the risk of physical harm or injury. Emotional or psychological vulnerability is also frequently present, as the punishment is designed to remind the offender of his bad actions and inflict feelings of shame or humiliation. Scholars recognize the stigmatic harm that can result from undesirable exposure in two other areas: strip searches and shackling.

In Safford v. Redding, the Court acknowledged the trauma stemming from a strip search, noting the obvious difference between communal undress for sports and the nakedness resulting from an intrusive body search. While strong documentation supports the trauma of a strip search, the potential stigma resulting from a shaming punishment's exposure is unknown. However, it is reasonable to anticipate similar arguments about the trauma of a shaming punishment. In an amicus brief filed in Redding, the National Association of Social Workers, joined by other interested parties, argued that the trauma resulting from a strip search could actually encourage some of the precise inappropriate behavior that strip searches are suppose to detect and A youth traumatized by a shaming punishment could also act out in inappropriate ways, including substance abuse or further delinquency, or suffer negative mental health effects. Although it would be rare for a shaming punishment to rise to the level of intrusiveness present in a strip search, the physical and emotional vulnerabilities inherent in these sanctions directly contradict the traditional goals of the juvenile justice system and are not supportable under the doctrine of parens patriea.

Scholars also recognize the dangers of emotional and physical harm stemming from shackling. Shackling, however, has more than just pernicious physical and psychological effects; it also affects a juvenile's agency and dignity. Juveniles forced to appear in court shackled suffer embarrassment and humiliation and feel like captive animals. Much like juveniles chained in a courtroom, juveniles subjected to a public shaming punishment may feel like they are on display like animals in the zoo. Furthermore, shackling has no proven deterrent effect, and as one scholar notes, to consider shackling as a punishment potentially deterring other juveniles from committing criminal acts is unconscionable in light of the historical mission of the juvenile court system to provide treatment for juvenile Overall, the negative effects of shackling, like the negative effects of shaming, undermine the values of traditional juvenile justice by blatantly exposing juveniles to significant emotional and psychical discomforts and by treating the youths like criminals, not individuals in need of help.

The negative effects stemming from judicially-imposed shaming punishments, strip searches, and shackling are distinguishable from parent imposed shame punishments. Parents have long enjoyed broad rights to raise their children for societal integration free from governmental intervention, and this includes the right to choose and administer appropriate discipline. Further, a parental shaming punishment is unlikely to expose the child to the physical or emotional danger that public shaming punishments invoke as one might expect that parents do not generally seek to expose their children's indiscretions. Not all parents agree with the extent of shame sanctions, and one might infer that parent-imposed shaming punishments would not implicate the public humiliation and embarrassment of judicially-imposed shaming sanctions. Another distinguishing factor is that under the traditional system of juvenile justice, courts acted in lieu of parents because the court considered all youths victims of inadequate parental care. Thus, a parent who publicly exposed his child would directly contravene parens patriae and the original goals for juvenile protection and rehabilitation.

The doctrine of parens patriae was the basis of a rare appeal of a juvenile's shaming punishment in In re MEB. In MEB, the juvenile was convicted of felony breaking and entering and felony possession of burglary tools, and as a condition of her probation, she was sentenced to wear a sign around her neck stating I AM A JUVENILE CRIMINAL anytime she appeared in public. The youth appealed on two grounds: (1) the trial court abused its discretion because the state statute limited alternative sanctions by requiring the confidentiality of the juvenile's case and (2) the shaming punishment undermined the purposes of the state's juvenile justice system because it treated her as an adult criminal and subjected her to the type of public stigma rejected by parens patriae. The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the juvenile on both grounds. The court found that the statute guaranteed that a juvenile's records would be closed, even though the law also provided an exception for certain individuals to obtain the records, and that by forcing the young girl to wear the sign announcing her crime, the shaming punishment violated her right to confidentiality.

The court also held for MEB on her second argument, although it did not address how the punishment failed to comply with traditional notions of juvenile justice. The state argued that MEB's punishment was permissible because it promoted accountability and responsibility and did not criminalize her acts. The court found that because it was MEB's first offense, she did not qualify for the intense supervision the statute permitted in cases where community supervision was needed to promote offender accountability. The court also rejected the state's argument that MEB did not actually have to wear the sign because she could stay at home; de facto house arrest was impermissible because MEB's crime was statutorily ineligible for house arrest. Finding the juvenile's only alternative to be the public humiliation of wearing the sign, already held a violation of the state's Juvenile Code, the court also ruled that the punishment violated public policy. Although the court never explicitly addressed MEB's claims regarding the foundations and purposes of the juvenile justice system, it acknowledged that public policy supported overturning the youth's shaming sanction.

Public policy may support adult shaming punishments, as evidenced by the Ninth Circuit's reasoning in United States v. Gementera. In upholding an adult's shaming punishment, the Ninth Circuit explicitly articulated the desirability of facilitating the public exposure of defendant's crime and to the victims of his crime as part of the defendant's rehabilitation. Nevertheless, the logic behind exposing adults fails with respect to juveniles. States initially established juvenile justice courts to intervene in a troubled child's life and to rehabilitate the child in effort to make him a productive member of society. Courts did not consider the proceedings criminal, and the goal was not to punish the child, but to restore the child in a holistic fashion. Judicially imposing adult-style shaming punishments on children undermines the doctrine of parens patriae by creating a psychically and emotionally vulnerable situation for the child and by exposing him to society.


C. Public Stigma: Stripping Away the Confidentiality

Shaming punishments frequently expose the offender's name and/or face directly to the public, and this publicity contravenes the traditional confidentiality afforded to juvenile delinquents. As part of his concurrence in Smith v. Daily Mail Publishing Co., Justice Rehnquist described as hallmarks of the system juvenile justice's emphasis on conducting proceedings outside of the public's gaze and on shielding youths from publicity of their offense. Rehnquist noted that anonymity protect[s] the young person from the stigma of his misconduct and is rooted in the principle that a court concerned with juvenile affairs serves as a rehabilitative and protective agency of the In recognizing that public exposure of a juvenile's identity may have long-term detrimental effects, the Justice opined about future lost employment opportunities, undue embarrassment to the family, and the potential for the punishment to do more harm than good by provid[ing] the hardcore delinquent the kind of attention he seeks, thereby encouraging him to commit further antisocial

Juvenile anonymity is not an absolute. In fact, when a newspaper lawfully obtains information regarding a juvenile's offense, it has a First Amendment right to publish the information. Furthermore, defendants have a Sixth Amendment right to cross-examine juveniles, even if they have been adjudicated delinquent. The constitutional considerations for those decisions are not present in administering juvenile shaming sanctions, however, and do not override the desirability of juvenile confidentiality.

The psychological impact of shaming's exposure of an offense is currently unknown, but a study of the psychological impact of the publicity concerning a youth's homicide trial provides insights to extrapolate from. Over a span of eight months, forty plus newspaper articles in the Oklahoma City area detailed the story of the young boy, L.B., and a number of these stories included his name. Even after a restraining order regarding the boy's identity was issued, news publications continued to publicize the story and referred to the 11-year-old boy (sometimes black boy) who shot a railroad The papers published L.B.'s picture, prior to the restraining order, and film footage showing him leaving the courthouse aired during that time. The true extent of L.B.'s knowledge of the publicity surrounding his case is unclear; he saw an article with his name and picture, although he also claimed to have heard radio and television broadcasts about his case.

The study's authors found that L.B. suffered several detrimental effects from the trial's publicity, resulting in events that hinder[ed] his rehabilitation in the The first event was precipitated by L.B. himself when, after seeing his name and picture in the newspaper, he told other residents in the detention center he was confined to about the shooting. L.B.'s openness caused frequent confrontations between L.B. and other residents, as well as psychological discomfort and stress . . . while he was in The second incident occurred after L.B. returned to school, and another student announced L.B.'s offense to the class. As a result of his exposure, L.B.'s peers harassed him, and the study concluded that the publicity produced considerable interference with the rehabilitation of the frightened and dependent A final example of the impact of L.B.'s trial exposure occurred at home, when L.B. rejected his court-ordered home placement with his father and ran to his mother's house. The authors found that the publicity had aroused in L.B. a need for protection, which he felt his father did not provide. Overall, the study concluded that the publicity caused L.B. additional stress, interfered with his reintegration into the community, and let to confrontations with his peers.

Although it is unlikely that any shaming punishment would receive the media attention given to L.B.'s case, it is clear that if L.B.'s confidentiality had been maintained, many of the difficulties he experienced would not have occurred. L.B. was not forced to walk in front of a store or stand on the courthouse steps; his identity was distributed through secondary news sources. A child publicly exposed in a shaming punishment is forced to disclose his identity (and possibly the nature of his offense) of his own accord, and his punishment could garner significant media attention.

As at least one scholar argues, [p]ublicity is detrimental to both the juvenile's prospects for rehabilitation, and to society's chances of reforming young people before they become adult The functional differences between exposure from access to court proceedings and exposure from public shaming punishments are minimal. In both instances, the youth's face (and thus possibility identity) is disclosed, the crime may be revealed, and the final adjudication of the matter (delinquent) is announced. The exposure stemming from shaming, however, is compounded by the emotional and physical vulnerabilities these sanctions produce, further working against the juvenile's rehabilitation.


D. Incompatibility with State Purposes of Juvenile Justice

The purported shift from a civil system of intervention and cure to a criminal system of guilt and punishment affected individual state systems of juvenile justice, and states began to rethink the purposes behind their juvenile justice systems. The National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) found that despite changes in philosophy and rhetoric, most states continue to adhere to the traditional goals underlying the first juvenile justice system. Furthermore, as scholars have argued, changes to the system have resulted not in reformation, but transformation. Thus, the effects of procedural changes detailed above remain unclear in light of the stated purposes of juvenile justice.

The NCJJ establishes five different categories that most states generally fall into based on their defined juvenile court purposes: (1) balanced and restorative justice, (2) standard Juvenile Court Act, (3) legislative guide, (4) emphasis on punishment, deterrence, accountability, and/or public safety, and (5) traditional child welfare. The categories are not mutually exclusive, as state statutes often exhibit characteristics of more than one category. A brief overview of the categories demonstrates that most states still adhere to at least some of the traditional verbiage and principles of juvenile justice.

Shaming punishments are not entirely inconsistent with all five of the NCJJ's categories, especially those states that embrace punishment and protection of society, not the youth's well-being. Nevertheless, many of the state statutes contain language reminiscent to the original purposes of juvenile justice, intervention, protection, and rehabilitation, and unregulated, judicially imposed shaming punishments undermine these goals by imposing a punishment of unknown effectiveness, capable of exposing the juvenile and stripping away his confidentiality in the system.

As of 2005, at least seventeen states defined their juvenile court system as part of a plan of balanced and restorative justice, encompassing a balance of public safety, individual accountability for the offense, and offender development/rehabilitation. For example, in Maryland, the Juvenile Causes Act governs juvenile court proceedings, and the stated purpose of the Act includes protection, care, and a program of services and treatment for the youth. Maryland's rhetoric rings of the goals of the Progressive era and implies the necessity of a holistic, balanced approach to juvenile rehabilitation. Alabama, a state categorized by the NCJJ as balanced and restorative justice-like, invokes language similar to the traditional underpinnings of juvenile justice but also acknowledges that the juvenile court must also protect the public welfare safety. Part of the stated purpose of the Alabama Juvenile Justice Act includes secur [ing] for any child . . . the necessary treatment, care, guidance, and discipline to assist him or her in becoming a responsible, productive member of Like Maryland, the Alabama Juvenile Justice Act addresses services to treat children and prevent further delinquent activity. Although Alabama accepts the need to balance the juvenile's needs against the public welfare and the desirability of holding a juvenile accountable for their actions, both Alabama and Maryland seek to protect juveniles in traditional ways. Both states seek to rehabilitate the offender and offer the juvenile protections similar to those a parent would provide his child by providing care and treatment. Shaming punishments are generally inconsistent with this category.

Seventeen states model the purposes of their court system on the language of the Standard Juvenile Court Act The SJCA was issued in 1925, but the more influential version was created in 1959 by the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges (now the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges), the National Probation and Parole Association (now the National Council on Crime and Delinquency), and the U.S. Children's Bureau (now in the U.S. Department of Health and Human States following this model emphasize balancing the needs of a youth in juvenile court with the needs of the state and providing a home-like environment to juveniles adjudged dependent.

The stated purpose of Michigan's Juvenile Code is almost identical to that of the SJCA. Although it is not as reminiscent of traditional juvenile justice ideals as Maryland or Alabama, Michigan still recognizes the state's responsibility to protect and care for juveniles in ways similar to the ideals of parens patriae. Maine, another state classified by the NCJJ as retaining some of the language of the SJCA, also recognizes the desirability of maintaining the family unit, providing treatment for the juvenile, and punishing the youth when the offense is serious enough. Both states clearly contain elements of parens patriae, and although both also contemplate the interests of the public welfare, goals of child protection and rehabilitation can be inferred. Shaming punishments are the most inconsistent with SJCA states. SJCA states rely on the doctrine of parens patriae, but they also seek to protect and rehabilitate the child. Maintaining public safety is a secondary concern to the goal of intervening positively in the child's life.

Twelve states either follow or contain language from the Legislative Guide for Drafting Family and Juvenile Court Acts, which emphasizes developing the overall well-being of the child, replacing criminality with rehabilitation, maintaining the integrity of the family home, and assuring just and fair proceedings. Vermont, one of the six states closely following the Legislative Guide, is an example of this balance. Vermont strives to rehabilitate juveniles and to remove the label of criminality from delinquency proceedings while also protecting the community, compensating victims, and holding offenders accountable. The NCJJ classifies Texas as retaining elements of the Legislative Guide but not following them explicitly. Texas lists public safety first among its purposes but also discusses the development and protection of the child, as well the fairness of the proceedings. Vermont, as opposed to Texas, strives to remove the concept of criminality from its juvenile justice system. Both states, however, seek to preserve the family and promote the development of the offender. While neither openly promotes parens patriae, both contain elements of the doctrine. Although ultimately a matter of degree, shaming is also fairly inconsistent with these and other states modeling their juvenile courts after the Legislative Guide for Drafting Family and Juvenile Courts Acts. Shaming is most consistent with states incorporating criminality and public safety, but even these states often consider the child's well-being and rehabilitation as well.

The NCJJ classifies six states as tough because their stated purposes emphasize punishment, deterrence, community safety, and individual accountability. Both Wyoming and Texas are multi-category states, having adopted some language from the Legislative Guide into their statutes but further including punishment as a key goal. Wyoming strives to remove the taint of criminality from certain acts and to rehabilitate the juvenile to become a successful member of society. Finally, at least three states emphasize the best interests of the youth in their states purposes for their juvenile court systems. These states emphasize the welfare of the youth and the necessity of rehabilitating and guiding delinquents to become productive members of society. Shaming sanctions are generally consistent with tough states, as well as states emphasizing the best interest of the child, although they also contain inconsistent elements. For example, Wyoming's system avoids punitive sanctions in favor of rehabilitation and prevention, marking it as reminiscent of traditional juvenile justice ideals. Also, states promoting the child's best interest focus on long-term for societal reintegration, not immediate punishment. Intervention in a child's life is another holdover from the Progressive movement.

Despite the differences in classification, most states continue to acknowledge, either directly or indirectly, some traditional elements of juvenile justice: intervention, protection, and rehabilitation. Some states are more explicit in their protections, while others balance those protections against the needs of the state. Overwhelmingly, however, states seek to promote the care and well-being of the child through positive services and programs. State juvenile courts systems are not the idealistic ones envisioned by Progressive reformers, but the fundamentals of parens patriae are still evident. Shaming punishments that criminalize and create public stigma for a juvenile offense are inconsistent with this doctrine, and with the states seeking to intervene and protect the child offender.

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