Hamlet: [...] what have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune, that she sends you to prison thither?
Guildenstern: Prison, my lord!
Hamlet: Denmark's a prison.
Rosencrantz: Then the world is one.
Hamlet: A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards and dungeons.
The high wall, no longer the wall that surrounds and protects, no longer the wall that stands for power and wealth, but the meticulously sealed wall, uncrossable in either direction, closed in upon the now mysterious work of punishment, will become, near at hand, sometimes even at the very center of the cities of the nineteenth century, the monotonous figure, at once material and symbolic, of the power to punish.
Each individual has his [sic] own place; and each place its individual. Avoid distributions in groups; break up collective dispositions; analyze confused, massive or transient pluralities [...] One must eliminate the effects of imprecise distributions, the uncontrolled disappearance of individuals, their diffuse circulation, their unusable and dangerous coagulation [...] The prison must be designed in such a way as to efface of itself the harmful consequences to which it gives rise in gathering together very different convicts in the same place: to stifle plots and revolts, to prevent the formation of future complicities that give rise to blackmail (when the convicts are once again at liberty), to form an obstacle to the immorality of so many 'mysterious' associations.
Why, any man will accept the bloodprice paid
for a brother murdered, a child done to death.
And the murderer lives in his own country --
the man has paid enough, and the injured kinsman
curbs his pride, his smoldering, vengeful spirit,
once he takes the price.
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold.
Come, we'll have him in a dark room and bound. My niece is already in the belief that he's mad: we may carry it thus, for our pleasure and his penance, till our very pastime, tired out of breath, prompt us to have mercy on him.
I would we were well rid of this knavery. If he may be conveniently delivered, I would he were, for I am now so far in offence with my niece that I cannot pursue with any safety this sport to the upshot.
The Jewish families of the city were crowded into a large paupers' hospital in the center of the city; its windows were walled up so that the Jews might not look into Christian houses, and its iron gates closed for the night at nine.
The true objective of the reform movement [...] [was] to set up a new "economy" of the power to punish, to assure its better distribution; [...] so that it could be distributed in homogeneous circuits capable of operating everywhere, in a continuous way, down to the finest grain of the social body. The reform of criminal law must be read as a strategy for the rearrangement of the power to punish [...]; in short, [to] increase its effects while diminishing its economic cost (that is to say, be dissociating it from the system of property, of buying and selling, of corruption in obtaining not only offices, but the decisions themselves) and its political cost (by dissociating it from the arbitrariness of monarchal power).
[B]lasphemy [...] lost its status as a crime; smuggling and domestic larceny some of their seriousness [...] A General movement shifted criminality from the attack on bodies to the more or less direct seizure of goods; and from a "mass criminality" to a "marginal criminality," partly the preserve of professionals. It was a if there had been a gradual olowering of level -- "a defusion of the tensions that dominate human relations, . . . a better control of violent impulses" -- and as if the illegal practices had themselves slackened their hold on the body and turned to other targets. Crime became less violent long before punishment became less severe.
The reciprocal interplay of illegalities [he writes] formed part of the political and economic life of society. Or, rather, a number of transformations [...] had operated in the breach that was being widened every day by popular illegality; the bourgeoisie had needed these transformations; and economic growth was due, in part, to them. Tolerance then became encouragement.
 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act II, Scene II, lines 245-252.
 William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act III, Scene II, line 187.
 Michel Foucault, Surveiller et Punir: Naissance de la prison (1975), translated as Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the prison by Alan Sheridan. So that there is no confusion, let me state clearly that I am not a "Foucaultian," and that, despite its great merits, Discipline and Punish is a seriously flawed work. For more along this line, see Foucault and Debord.
 Book IX, lines 772-777.
 Book XIII, line 69.
 Act I, Scene V, lines 9-15.
 Act IV, Scene III, line 21.
 Twelfth Night, or What You Will, Act III, Scene IV, lines 148-153.
 Act IV, Scene III, lines 72-77.
 Act V, Scene I, line 387.
 Alexander Stille, Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families under Fascism (1991).
 Foucault, Discipline and Punish; internal quotations from N.W. Mogensen, Aspects de la societe augeronne aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siecles, 1971.
 "Islam in jail: Europe's neglect breeds angry radicals," The New York Times, 8 December 2004.
 See Hesiod's Theogony.