Punishment Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old punishment quotes, punishment sayings, and punishment proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.

Punishment is not for revenge, but to lessen crime and reform the criminal.     

Elizabeth Fry

The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.     

George Bernard Shaw

The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men.     


It is not the punishment but the cause that makes the martyr.     

Saint Augustine

Punishment is now unfashionable... because it creates moral distinctions among men, which, to the democratic mind, are odious. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.     

Thomas Szasz

Punishment cannot heal spirits, can only break them.     

Barbara Deming

The first and greatest punishment of the sinner is the conscience of sin.     

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Capital punishment is as fundamentally wrong as a cure for crime as charity is wrong as a cure for poverty.     

Henry Ford

All pain is a punishment, and every punishment is inflicted for love as much as for justice.     

Joseph de Maistre

All punishment is mischief; all punishment in itself is evil.     

Jeremy Bentham

There must be no worse punishment to a totalitarian nation than the withdrawal of capital.     

Jerzy Kosinski

Punishment for doing your job well is an unparalleled professional pressure.     

Chris Borland

Capital punishment is our society's recognition of the sanctity of human life.     

Orrin Hatch

Punishment may make us obey the orders we are given, but at best it will only teach an obedience to authority, not a self-control which enhances our self-respect.     

Bruno Bettelheim

Let the punishment be proportionate to the offense.     


Punishment is justice for the unjust.     

Augustine of Hippo

The punishment of criminals should serve a purpose. When a man is hanged he is useless.     


Any punishment that does not correct, that can merely rouse rebellion in whoever has to endure it, is a piece of gratuitous infamy which makes those who impose it more guilty in the eyes of humanity, good sense and reason, nay a hundred times more guilty than the victim on whom the punishment is inflicted.     

Marquis De Sade

Capital punishment would be more effective as a preventive measure if it were administered prior to the crime.     

Woody Allen

All in all, punishment hardens and renders people more insensible; it concentrates; it increases the feeling of estrangement; it strengthens the power of resistance.     

Friedrich Nietzsche

What punishments of God are not gifts?     

J. R. R. Tolkien

An unjust punishment is never forgotten.     

Penelope Fitzgerald

Punishment is a vital need of the human soul.     

Simone Weil

Punishments erode relationships and moral growth.     

Alfie Kohn

No punishment is so terrible as prosperous guilt.     

William Ellery Channing

Punishment closely follows guilt as its companion.     


Punishment renders autonomy of conscience impossible.     

Jean Piaget

Divine punishment is at once followed by Divine pity.     

Joseph H. Hertz

Punishment is God's. He alone is the infallible Judge.     

Mahatma Gandhi

The power of punishment is to silence, not to confute.     

Samuel Johnson