In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
It was only when I lay there on the rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not between states nor between social classes nor between political parties, but right through every human heart, through all human hearts. And that is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me, bless you, prison, for having been a part of my life.
Three hundred years ago a prisoner condemned to the Tower of London carved on the wall of his cell this sentiment to keep up his spirits during his long imprisonment: “It is not adversity that kills, but the impatience with which we bear adversity.”
I have been studying how I may compare This prison where I live unto the world; And, for because the world is populous, And here is not a creature but myself, I cannot do it. Yet I'll hammer it out.
We shall not yield to violence. We shall not be deprived of union freedoms. We shall never agree with sending people to prison for their convictions.
I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky.
It isn't true that convicts live like animals: animals have more room to move around.
Overlook our deeds, since you know that crime was absent from our inclination.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
The number of laws is constantly growing in all countries and, owing to this, what is called crime is very often not a crime at all, for it contains no element of violence or harm.
Faults of the head are punished in this world, those of the heart in another; but as most of our vices are compound, so also is their punishment.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.
I have paid no poll-tax for six years. I was put into a jail once on this account, for one night; and, as I stood considering the walls of solid stone, I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated me as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up...I saw that, if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through, before they could get to be as free as I was. I did not for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar.
I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.