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.
Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached.
Forgiveness, that noblest of all self-denial, is a virtue which he alone who can practise in himself can willingly believe in another.
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.
We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
Overlook our deeds, since you know that crime was absent from our inclination.
There is no greater punishment of wickedness that that it is dissatisfied with itself and its deeds.
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.
Fear can be like a prison. It is, however, a self made prison. Many are imprisoned by fear. No one else can liberate them from this prison. Others may inspire them but they must liberate themselves.
Here the great art lies, to discern in what the law is to be to restraint and punishment, and in what things persuasion only is to work.
In prisons, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all.
It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.
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.
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.