The English laws punish vice; the Chinese laws do more, they reward virtue.
Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our duty is to furnish it well.
There is no peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war - at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake.
If two people fight on the street, whose fault is it? Who is the criminal? It is the government’s responsibility because the government has not educated the people to not make mistakes. The people have inadequate, incompetent education, so they make mistakes! It is such a fraud.
The world itself is but a large prison, out of which some are daily led to execution.
Whatever you think of de Sade, he was a complex figure and we should not look for easy answers with him. He was, strangely perhaps, against the death penalty, and he was never put in prison for murders or anything like that.
When is conduct a crime, and when is a crime not a crime? When Somebody Up There -- a monarch, a dictator, a Pope, a legislator -- so decrees.
Prison continues, on those who are entrusted to it, a work begun elsewhere, which the whole of society pursues on each individual through innumerable mechanisms of discipline.
I wrote a million words in the first year, and I could never have done that outside of prison.
History is full of people who went to prison or were burned at the stake for proclaiming their ideas. Society has always defended itself.
No obligation to justice does force a man to be cruel, or to use the sharpest sentence.
The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.
Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass, Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron, Can be retentive to the strength of spirit; But life, being weary of these worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
Whatever is worthy to be loved for anything is worthy of preservation. A wise and dispassionate legislator, if any such should ever arise among men, will not condemn to death him who has done or is likely to do more service than injury to society. Blocks and gibbets are the nearest objects with legislators, and their business is never with hopes or with virtues.
I asked a man in prison once how he happened to be there and he said he had stolen a pair of shoes. I told him if he had stolen a railroad he would be a United States Senator.
Overlook our deeds, since you know that crime was absent from our inclination.