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.
There are few better measures of the concern a society has for its individual members and its own well being than the way it handles criminals.
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.
Prison, dungeons, blessed places where evil is impossible because they are the crossroads of all the evil in the world. One cannot commit evil in hell.
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.
Civilization is maintained by a very few people in a small number of places and we need only some bombs and a few prisons to blot it out altogether.
A just chastisement may benefit a man, though it seldom does; but an unjust one changes all his blood to gall.
I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.
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.
Prisons don't rehabilitate, they don't punish, they don't protect, so what the hell do they do?
There are dreadful punishments enacted against thieves; but it were much better to make such good provisions, by which every man might be put in a method how to live, and so to be preserved from the fatal necessity of stealing and dying for it.
Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton.
I wrote a million words in the first year, and I could never have done that outside of prison.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
They're not supposed to show prison films in prison. Especially ones that are about escaping.
Wicked deeds are generally done, even with impunity, for the mere desire of occupation.
We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business.
Nor cell, nor chain, nor dungeon speaks to the murderer like the voice of solitude.