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Justified or cruel? (access required)

When I saw the story about the Cleveland woman who was ordered to hold a humiliating sign as punishment for passing a school bus on the sidewalk, it got me thinking about the point where a court-ordered punishment goes from being deserved to possibly more unnecessary and humiliating.


  1. I like it! I like the idea of imposing punishments which are creative and out of the box.. It doesn’t seem like our legal system is as effective as we would like it to be. People are often impatient, reckless, haphazard or selfish, jails are crowded and money to pay fines is scarce. Why not come up with a modern scarlet letter as punishment and see if it works? If the crime (and punishment) has a small, local audience then I think the psychological impact of the media attention would be minimal and hopefully the accused will be motivated to be a more productive and less destructive member of society.

  2. Did you watch the video? She thinks she did nothing wrong! She talked on her cell phone, texted and otherwise ignored the purpose of the punishment. And, it wasn’t just one time she passed a school bus, she passed the bus multiple times and was caught on camera more than once!

  3. New York City is building these high rise apartments that have apartments that are 250 sq feet in size. These are for the middle-class. I think it would be good to sentence Wall Street fraudsters to these almost-doghouses. It could be a rotating residence for multiple offenders. As the offenders left the building they would have to lean their heads against the door to have imprinted the scarlet ‘thief’ upon their foreheads.