In November 2012, Shena Hardin, 32, was ordered to hold up an embarrassing sign on a Cleveland, Ohio corner. Municipal Judge Pinkey Carr ordered Hardin to two days of standing on a corner during rush hour traffic, holding a sign that said, "Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus."
Hardin pleaded guilty to failing to stop for a school bus while children were getting off. Hardin's license was also suspended for 30 days and she was ordered to pay $250 in court costs. Judge Carr said she hoped the unusual sentence would remind other drivers to have patience for the school bus.
Nathaniel Hawthorne depicted the role shame played in Puritan New England society in "The Scarlet Letter," writing, "...There can be no outrage, methinks, against our common nature – whatever be the delinquencies of the individual – no outrage more flagrant than to forbid the culprit to hide his face for shame.”
Across the country, some judges have begun taking a cue from the Puritans, sentencing convicts to display their crimes publicly in humiliating ways. While individual judges have received support for the idea, whether shaming is effective at deterring repeat offenses remains to be seen.