I asked a man in prison once how he happened to be there and he said he had stolen a pair of shoes. I told him if he had stolen a railroad he would be a United States Senator.
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.
Federal prison, if you get any of it, you're going to have to do 85% of it. And the reason why I called it that is because I had a friend who got sent to the federal joint and his whole... it wasn't about him being in jail. He cried about the 85%.
We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky.
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
Every instance of a man's suffering the penalty of the law is an instance of the failure of that penalty in effecting its purpose, which is to deter.
We're in a war. People who blast some pot on a casual basis are guilty of treason.
We have initiated programs for re-entry offenders, since some 500,000 to 600,000 offenders will come out of prison each year for the next three or four years. We want to have positive alternatives when they come back to the community.
The only difference between me and my fellow actors is that I've spent more time in jail.
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.
I have paid no poll-tax for six years. I was put into a jail once on this account, for one night; and, as I stood considering the walls of solid stone, I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated me as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up...I saw that, if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through, before they could get to be as free as I was. I did not for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar.
We shall not yield to violence. We shall not be deprived of union freedoms. We shall never agree with sending people to prison for their convictions.
Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization.
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.
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.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.
We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business.
When you are younger you get blamed for crimes you never committed and when you're older you begin to get credit for virtues you never possessed. It evens itself 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.