“I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime”*…
In 1798 John Neagle, an honest Philadelphia blacksmith, was falsely convicted and incarcerated for America’s first major bank robbery; exonerated six months later, he then became America’s first recipient of a “wrongful imprisonment” settlement from the city. The incredible tale in its entirety (and an explanation of the symbolism in the portrait of Neagle above) at “The First American Bank Robbery Was An Epic Farce.”
* Howard Zinn
As we take care not to throw away the key, we might send beautiful– but deadly– birthday greetings to Benvenuto Cellini; he was born on this date in 1500. A Renaissance goldsmith, sculptor, draftsman, soldier, musician, artist, poet, and memoirist, he was an important figure in the Mannerist period… and as he confessed inThe Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, a multiple murderer and maimer.
When certain decisions of the court were sent me by those lawyers, and I perceived that my cause had been unjustly lost, I had recourse for my defense to a great dagger I carried; for I have always taken pleasure in keeping fine weapons. The first man I attacked was a plaintiff who had sued me; and one evening I wounded him in the legs and arms so severely, taking care, however, not to kill him, that I deprived him of the use of both his legs. Then I sought out the other fellow who had brought the suit, and used him also such wise that he dropped it.
– The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, Ch. XXVIII, as translated by John Addington Symonds, Dolphin Books edition, 1961