To me it has always been a mystery how the average man, knowing something of the weakness of human nature, something of the temptations to which he himself has been exposed – remembering the evil of his life, the things he would have done had there been opportunity, had he absolutely known that discovery would be impossible – should have feelings of hatred toward the imprisoned. Is it possible that the average man assaults the criminal in a spirit of self-defense? Does he wish to convince his neighbors that the evil thought and impulse were never in his mind? Are his words a shield that he uses to protect himself from suspicion?
For my part, I sympathize sincerely with all failures, with the victims of society, with those who have fallen, with the imprisoned, with the hopeless, with those who have been stained by verdicts of guilty, and with those who, in the moment of passion have destroyed, as with a blow, the future of their lives. How perilous, after all, is the state of man. It is the work of a life to build a great and splendid character. It is the work of a moment to destroy it utterly, from turret to foundation stone. How cruel hypocrisy is!
Is there any remedy? Can anything be done for the reformation of the criminal? He should be treated with kindness. He should neither be degraded nor robbed. The State should set the highest and noblest example. The powerful should never be cruel, and in the breast of the supreme there should be no desire for revenge.