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.
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.
Trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, shall be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
It is safer that a bad man should not be accused, than that he should be acquitted.
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.
A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.
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.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.
The worst of prison life, he thought, was not being able to close his door.
Adversities such as being homeless and going to prison has made many people stronger.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
The refined punishments of the spiritual mode are usually much more indecent and dangerous than a good smack.
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.
There are only two places in the world where time takes precedence over the job to be done. School and prison.
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.
Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrist? And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists? And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air? Oh they're taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.
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.