There are few better measures of the concern a society has for its individual members and its own well being than the way it handles criminals.
There are dreadful punishments enacted against thieves; but it were much better to make such good provisions, by which every man might be put in a method how to live, and so to be preserved from the fatal necessity of stealing and dying for it.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
Corporal punishment falls far more heavily than most weighty pecuniary penalty.
Adversities such as being homeless and going to prison has made many people stronger.
The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, chiefly I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses.
It is certain that the study of human psychology, if it were undertaken exclusively in prisons, would also lead to misrepresentation and absurd generalizations.
Trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, shall be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.
I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.
Nor cell, nor chain, nor dungeon speaks to the murderer like the voice of solitude.
The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.
Justice is that virtue of the soul which is distributive according to desert.
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.”
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.
Women have worked hard; starved in prison; given of their time and lives that we might sit in the House of Commons and take part in the legislating of this country.
Law is merely the expression of the will of the strongest for the time being, and therefore laws have no fixity, but shift from generation to generation.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
If we were brought to trial for the crimes we have committed against ourselves, few would escape the gallows.