Corner of Shame encourages law-breakers to pay up

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BELLE - Officials in a small mid-Missouri town are enforcing a new policy with hopes it will encourage residents to obey the law.

Judge Richard Skouby implemented a policy that gives criminals the option to stand on a corner in the center of town with a sign displaying their crime. Officials noticed law-breakers were failing to appear in court and pay court fees. The "corner of shame" gives local law-breakers the option disclose their crime to the community instead of paying their fines.

Mayor Stewart Darrah said he hopes the policy will hold the community accountable.

"It's just saying there are consequences for your actions and even if you can't afford to pay the fine or you're bullheaded enough that you're not going to which is some people's prerogative to say no," Darrah said. "Well there are other consequences for their actions."

Marshal Joe Turnbough said the size of the town makes the policy more effective.

"They stand out there for a couple of hours. If anybody in the town didn't see them by 24 hours, everybody in the town has already heard about it. It's a very small population," said Turnbough.

The policy only applies to criminals with a misdemeanor. Seven people have opted out of the corner since it's implementation. One person has accepted the option.