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.
One of the problems that the marijuana reform movement consistently faces is that everyone wants to talk about what marijuana does, but no one ever wants to look at what marijuana prohibition does. Marijuana never kicks down your door in the middle of the night. Marijuana never locks up sick and dying people, does not suppress medical research, does not peek in bedroom windows. Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.
You utter a vow, or forge a signature, and you may find yourself bound for life to a monastery, a woman, or prison.
In jail a man has no personality. He is a minor disposal problem and a few entries on reports. Nobody cares who loves or hates him, what he looks like, what he did with his life. Nobody reacts to him unless he gives trouble. Nobody abuses him. All that is asked of him is that he go quietly to the right cell and remain quiet when he gets there. There is nothing to fight against, nothing to be mad at. The jailers are quiet men without animosity or sadism.
There is no peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war - at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake.
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.
I wrote a million words in the first year, and I could never have done that outside of prison.
The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
No matter how you seem to fatten on a crime, that can never be good for the bee which is bad for the hive.
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.
Corporal punishment falls far more heavily than most weighty pecuniary penalty.
It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.
On average, drug prisoners spend more time in federal prison than rapists, who often get out on early release because of the overcrowding in prison caused by the Drug War.
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.
A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.
The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.
We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business.