Judge Tries Shame on Shoplifters

Wal-Mart thieves get ‘Scarlet Letter’ treatment
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Jul 25, 2007 3:42 PM CDT
A Wal-Mart store in Durate, California,   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A local Alabama judge has teamed with Wal-Mart to punish shoplifters with shame, making them don sandwich-boards reading “I am a thief; I stole from Wal-Mart” and parade in public, BusinessWeek reports. More than 20 culprits have received the sentence in recent months; the world’s largest retailer sees about $3 billion of merchandise leave the stores illegally each year.

While some decry the punishment as cruel and unusual, the judge proudly declares: “the person always drops their head in shame.” Wal-Mart, which says its second-quarter profits will be low partly because of increased theft, agreed to the experiment in creative justice, but may be growing concerned with bad publicity: they’ve asked the judge to keep his Hester Prynnes off of their property.