He was a first-time nonviolent possible offender, ... And under the mandatory minimums, he was put in prison for 15 years. Not only does the punishment not fit the crime, but the mandatory minimums don't give judges any discretion to look at the background of the case, to read into the specifics of the case. I don't know a judge who really is in favor of the mandatory minimums.
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.
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.
When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
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.
I know not whether laws be right, or whether laws be wrong; All that we know who lie in gaol is that the wall is strong; And that each day is like a year, a year whose days are long.
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.
Virtue pardons the wicked, as the sandal-tree perfumes the axe which strikes it.
Care should be taken that the punishment does not exceed the guilt; and also that some men do not suffer for offenses for which others are not even indicted.
Intellectual despair results in neither weakness nor dreams, but in violence. It is only a matter of knowing how to give vent to one's rage; whether one only wants to wander like madmen around prisons, or whether one wants to overturn them.
Overlook our deeds, since you know that crime was absent from our inclination.
Civilization is maintained by a very few people in a small number of places and we need only some bombs and a few prisons to blot it out altogether.