"that instrument of discipline, so fashioned as to confine the human head in its tight grasp, and thus hold it up to the public gaze"
An eroticized image of a pilloried girl
Public DomainAn eroticized image of a pilloried girl - Credit: John Willie

This instrument is of course the pillory, a hinged wooden contraption mounted on a post with holes into which a person’s head and sometimes hands were locked. Unlike the stocks, the pillory required the miscreant to remain standing. It was designed to humiliate, and townspeople would enthusiastically join in, throwing offal, rotten food, excrement and bricks. Captive sinners were also subject to rapes and cruel beatings, which were sometimes fatal. As the centuries progressed, so too did conceptions of criminal justice, and the pillory came to be seen as a form of cruel and unusual punishment. It was abolished by an Act of Congress in 1839.

Creative Commons AttributionPillories - Credit: Pinch of salt