I found the below paper citing actual colonial time records of your sister state North Carolina in the 1800’s. What is so striking about this parallel is how in that time you have people expressing the exact same sentiment being acknowledged in present time, it is like looking in a mirror?
State: North Carolina Historical Records:
“The severity of the existing code defeats its own purposes, they argued.” (YOU DON’T SAY?)
“The present criminal code of this State . . . is dead; for, through the humanity of the juries and the Governor, it has become a mere nullity.”
“The severity of punishments is no deterrent to crime, they continued.”
“. . . [on the very day of a public hanging] many thefts were committed on our merchants, while their stores were crowded with buyers; counterfeiters seized upon it as a favorable time to pass their counterfeited money; and our streets at night presented a scene of disorder and drunkenness at once shocking to the feelings of humanity, and disgraceful to a civilized community.”‘
Source: 4-1-1939 Punishment for Crime in North Carolina by Albert Coates http://scholarship.law.unc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1472&context=nclr