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"...a common observation, that few are mended by imprisonment,
and that he, whose crimes have made confinement necessary, seldom
makes any other use of his enlargement, than to do, with greater
cunning, what he did before with less."
Johnson: The False Alarm
1,527. Jail; Virtue
"Virtue is uncommon in all the classes of humanity; and I suppose
it will scarcely be imagined more frequent in a prison than in
other places. Yet..."
Johnson: Adventurer #62 (June 9, 1753)
"The misery of gaols is not half their evil: they are filled with
every corruption which poverty and wickedness can generate
between them; with all the shameless and profligate enormities
that can be produced by the impudence of ignominy, the rage of
want, and the malignity of despair. In a prison, the awe of the
publick eye is lost, and the power of the law is spent; there are
few fears, there are no blushes. The lewd inflame the lewd, the
audacious harden the audacious. Every one fortifies himself as he
can against his own sensibility, endeavours to practice on others
the arts which are practised on himself; and gains the kindness
of his associates by similitude of manners."
Johnson: Idler #38 (January 6, 1759)