„But the guilty person is only one of the targets of punishment. For punishment is directed above all at others, at all the potentially guilty.“

Source: Discipline and Punish (1977), Chapter Three, The Gentle Way in Punishment
Context: This, then, is how one must imagine the punitive city. At the crossroads, in the gardens, at the side of roads being repaired or bridges built, in workshops open to all, in the depths of mines that may be visited, will be hundreds of tiny theatres of punishment. Each crime will have its law; each criminal his punishment. It will be a visible punishment, a punishment that tells all, that explains, justifies itself, convicts: placards, different-coloured caps bearing inscriptions, posters, symbols, texts read or printed, tirelessly repeat the code. Scenery, perspectives, optical effects, trompe-l’œil sometimes magnify the scene, making it more fearful than it is, but also clearer. From where the public is sitting, it is possible to believe in the existence of certain cruelties which, in fact, do not take place. But the essential point, in all these real or magnified severities, is that they should all, according to a strict economy, teach a lesson: that each punishment should be a fable. And that, in counterpoint with all the direct examples of virtue, one may at each moment encounter, as a living spectacle, the misfortunes of vice. Around each of these moral ‘representations’, schoolchildren will gather with their masters and adults will learn what lessons to teach their offspring. The great terrifying ritual of the public execution gives way, day after day, street after street, to this serious theatre, with its multifarious and persuasive scenes. And popular memory will reproduce in rumour the austere discourse of the law. But perhaps it will be necessary, above these innumerable spectacles and narratives, to place the major sign of punishment for the most terrible of crimes: the keystone of the penal edifice.

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update June 3, 2021. History
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Michel Foucault128
French philosopher 1926 - 1984

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—  John Fortescue Chief Justice of the King's Bench of England 1394 - 1476

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„Those guilty of idolatry or pagan sacrifices must suffer capital punishment.“

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„I am a house gutted by fire where only the guilty sometimes sleep before the punishment that devours them hounds them out in the open.“

—  Rainer Maria Rilke Austrian poet and writer 1875 - 1926

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„Only the guilty are guilty. Their children are not.“

—  Elie Wiesel writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor 1928 - 2016

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„Their piety is as abject as their justice. Am I innocent? I'm guilty. Am I guilty? I'm innocent. (I'm innocent when I'm guilty, guilty when I'm innocent. I'm guilty when … but that is another song. Another song? It's all the same song.) Guilty innocent, innocent guilty, the fact is I quit.“

—  Octavio Paz Mexican writer laureated with the 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature 1914 - 1998

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Context: The world stretches out before me, the vast world of the big, the little, and the medium. Universe of kings and presidents and jailors, of mandarins and pariahs and liberators and liberated, of judges and witnesses and the condemned: stars of the first, second, third and nth magnitudes, planets, comets, bodies errant and eccentric or routine and domesticated by the laws of gravity, the subtle laws of falling, all keeping step, all turning slowly or rapidly around a void. Where they claim the central sun lies, the solar being, the hot beam made out of every human gaze, there is nothing but a hole and less than a hole: the eye of a dead fish, the giddy cavity of the eye that falls into itself and looks at itself without seeing. There is nothing with which to fill the hollow center of the whirlwind. The springs are smashed, the foundations collapsed, the visible or invisible bonds that joined one star to another, one body to another, one man to another, are nothing but a tangle of wires and thorns, a jungle of claws and teeth that twist us and chew us and spit us out and chew us again. No one hangs himself by the rope of a physical law. The equations fall tirelessly into themselves.
And in regard to the present matter, if the present matters: I do not belong to the masters. I don't wash my hands of it, but I am not a judge, nor a witness for the prosecution, nor an executioner. I do not torture, interrogate, or suffer interrogation. I do not loudly plead for leniency, nor wish to save myself or anyone else. And for all that I don't do and for all that they do to us, I neither ask forgiveness nor forgive. Their piety is as abject as their justice. Am I innocent? I'm guilty. Am I guilty? I'm innocent. (I'm innocent when I'm guilty, guilty when I'm innocent. I'm guilty when … but that is another song. Another song? It's all the same song.) Guilty innocent, innocent guilty, the fact is I quit.

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„Few are guilty, but all are responsible.“

—  Abraham Joshua Heschel Polish-American Conservative Judaism Rabbi 1907 - 1972

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„To punish the guilty adequately exceeds the power of any civilised man; for the atrocities which have been committed are such as to be imagined and perpetrated only by demons sallying forth from the lowest depths of hell.“

—  Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston British politician 1784 - 1865

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I. F. Stone photo

„What the world (and particularly the White House) needs to remember is that aggression is unleashed and escalated when one party to a dispute decides for itself who is guilty and how he is to be punished.“

—  I. F. Stone American investigative journalist and author 1907 - 1989

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„The soldiers who are accused of committing these atrocities are, of course, responsible for their own actions and if found guilty, must be severely and appropriately punished. But they are not the ones primarily responsible for the disgrace that has been brought upon the United States of America.“

—  Al Gore 45th Vice President of the United States 1948

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Context: The soldiers who are accused of committing these atrocities are, of course, responsible for their own actions and if found guilty, must be severely and appropriately punished. But they are not the ones primarily responsible for the disgrace that has been brought upon the United States of America.
Private Lynndie England did not make the decision that the United States would not observe the Geneva Convention. Specialist Charles Graner was not the one who approved a policy of establishing an American Gulag of dark rooms with naked prisoners to be "stressed" and even — we must use the word — tortured — to force them to say things that legal procedures might not induce them to say.
These policies were designed and insisted upon by the Bush White House.

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„Lawyers are the only persons in whom ignorance of the law is not punished.“

—  Jeremy Bentham British philosopher, jurist, and social reformer 1748 - 1832

Attributed to Bentham in The Dictionary of Humorous Quotations‎ (1949) by Evan Esar, p. 29; no earlier sources for this have been located.
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„It is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer.“

—  William Blackstone, book Commentaries on the Laws of England

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„It is better to risk sparing a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.“

—  Voltaire, book Zadig

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