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 common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor.
No obligation to justice does force a man to be cruel, or to use the sharpest sentence.
A country is in a bad state, which is governed only by laws; because a thousand things occur for which laws cannot provide, and where authority ought to interpose.
By noiselessly going to a prison a civil-resister ensures a calm atmosphere.
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.
Before we can diminish our sufferings from the ill-controlled aggressive assaults of fellow citizens, we must renounce the philosophy of punishment, the obsolete, vengeful penal attitude. In its place we would seek a comprehensive, constructive social attitude - therapeutic in some instances, restraining in some instances, but preventive in its total social impact. In the last analysis this becomes a question of personal morals and values. No matter how glorified or how piously disguised, vengeance as a human motive must be personally repudiated by each and every one of us.
The idea that the sole aim of punishment is to prevent crime is obviously grounded upon the theory that crime can be prevented, which is almost as dubious as the notion that poverty can be prevented.
Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.
A just chastisement may benefit a man, though it seldom does; but an unjust one changes all his blood to gall.
The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.
Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton.
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
Every crime has, in the moment of its perpetration, Its own avenging angel--dark misgiving, An ominous sinking at the inmost heart.