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.
It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their own kind.
I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
Fast closed with double grills
And triple gates – the cell
To wicked souls is hell;
But to a mind that's innocent
'Tis only iron, wood and stone.
I am an expert of electricity. My father occupied the chair of applied electricity at the state prison.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.
When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
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 is worthy to be loved for anything is worthy of preservation. A wise and dispassionate legislator, if any such should ever arise among men, will not condemn to death him who has done or is likely to do more service than injury to society. Blocks and gibbets are the nearest objects with legislators, and their business is never with hopes or with virtues.
If punishment reaches not the mind and makes not the will supple, it hardens the offender.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
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.
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.