Written laws are like spiders' webs, and will, like them, only entangle and hold the poor and weak, while the rich and powerful will easily break through them.
The torment of human frustration, whatever its immediate cause, is the knowledge that the self is in prison, its vital force and 'mangled mind' leaking away in lonely, wasteful self-conflict.
In prisons, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all.
Every instance of a man's suffering the penalty of the law is an instance of the failure of that penalty in effecting its purpose, which is to deter.
The contagion of crime is like that of the plague. Criminals collected together corrupt each other; they are worse than ever when at the termination of their punishment they re-enter society.
Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future lives and crimes to society.
Any punishment that does not correct, that can merely rouse rebellion in whoever has to endure it, is a piece of gratuitous infamy which makes those who impose it more guilty in the eyes of humanity, good sense and reason, nay a hundred times more guilty than the victim on whom the punishment is inflicted.
The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.
Here the great art lies, to discern in what the law is to be to restraint and punishment, and in what things persuasion only is to work.
No matter how you seem to fatten on a crime, that can never be good for the bee which is bad for the hive.
No man survives when freedom fails. The best men rot in filthy jails, and those who cry 'appease, appease' are hanged by those they tried to please.
Justice is that virtue of the soul which is distributive according to desert.
The only effect of public punishment is to show the rabble how bravely it can be borne; and that every one who hath lost a toe-nail hath suffered worse.
Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our duty is to furnish it well.
History is full of people who went to prison or were burned at the stake for proclaiming their ideas. Society has always defended itself.
Trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, shall be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.
It is hard, but it is excellent, to find the right knowledge of when correction is necessary and when grace doth most avail.
You utter a vow, or forge a signature, and you may find yourself bound for life to a monastery, a woman, or prison.