As it so happens, my great-great-great grandfather was Edwin C. Burleigh, 42nd governor of Maine. And, as it so happens, he had this to say:
The convict should at the end of his term be a better man morally than he was when he entered the prison, or else his imprisonment has not been of lasting advantage to society.
It’s such simple common sense, yet it seems to be lost on so many people. Prisons are for improving society, not punishing people. Of course, punishment may be one of the means used to achieve the actual goal of prisons, but it is not an end unto itself.