I have been studying how I may compare this prison where I live unto the world; Shut up in the prison of their own consciences.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
The worst of prison life, he thought, was not being able to close his door.
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.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.
Justice is that virtue of the soul which is distributive according to desert.
The English laws punish vice; the Chinese laws do more, they reward virtue.
To be in prison so long, it's difficult to remember exactly what you did to get there.
We who live in prison, and in whose lives there is no event but sorrow, have to measure time by throbs of pain, and the record of bitter moments.
Any punishment that does not correct, that can merely rouse rebellion in whoever has to endure it, is a piece of gratuitous infamy which makes those who impose it more guilty in the eyes of humanity, good sense and reason, nay a hundred times more guilty than the victim on whom the punishment is inflicted.
It is true you cannot eat freedom and you cannot power machinery with democracy. But then neither can political prisoners turn on the light in the cells of a dictatorship.
Whatever you think of de Sade, he was a complex figure and we should not look for easy answers with him. He was, strangely perhaps, against the death penalty, and he was never put in prison for murders or anything like that.