the needle is stuck on retribution


Senior Member
The first custodial sentence is rarely the last. And in their cases, as with so many others, it can often feel as if the needle is stuck on retribution, at the cost of all else.--TheSecretBarrister

What does the needle stuck on retribution mean? a circle? or maybe I should ask what kind of needle it will be? Thanks.
  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    It is either a reference to a gauge with a needle indicator stuck at a location labelled "retribution".

    Or it is a reference to a vinyl record with the needle stuck on one single groove and repeating "retribution". It is often said to "skip" on that groove.

    There may be other possibilities, but these are the two that come to mind.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Yes, for example if you put a full tank of gas/petrol in your car and the gauge still shows it's empty then the needle (the indicator arrow of the gauge) is stuck on empty.

    I this case, the impression is that whenever those people come into court, the only option considered is retribution. I think they were saying an attempt at rehabilitation is not seriously considered.