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.
The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.
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.
I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
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.
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.
If we look at Houston, which is a very environmentally toxic place, we find that it has one of the highest levels of young men going to prison and also among the highest levels of illiteracy in the country.
We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
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.
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.
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.
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing, but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.
It is not at the table, but in prison, that you learn who your true friends are.
The world itself is but a large prison, out of which some are daily led to execution.
No obligation to justice does force a man to be cruel, or to use the sharpest sentence.
The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.