It is hard, but it is excellent, to find the right knowledge of when correction is necessary and when grace doth most avail.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.
It isn't true that convicts live like animals: animals have more room to move around.
If punishment reaches not the mind and makes not the will supple, it hardens the offender.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor.
The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, chiefly I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses.
I never told a victim story about my imprisonment. Instead, I told a transformation story - about how prison changed my outlook, about how I saw that communication, truth, and trust are at the heart of power.
It is safer that a bad man should not be accused, than that he should be acquitted.
The world itself is but a large prison, out of which some are daily led to execution.