Society has used the juvenile courts to create a caste system where there are throw-away people.
Justice is that virtue of the soul which is distributive according to desert.
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.
The refined punishments of the spiritual mode are usually much more indecent and dangerous than a good smack.
It is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer.
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.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
If punishment reaches not the mind and makes not the will supple, it hardens the offender.
Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices - just recognize them.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
The mellow sweetness of pumpkin pie off a prison spoon is something you will never forget.
Since 1957, black people have experienced double-digit unemployment - in good times and bad times. Look at the population of African Americans in prison. They represent more than half the population of prisoners in the country, 55 percent of those on death row.
The torment of human frustration, whatever its immediate cause, is the knowledge that the self is in prison, its vital force and 'mangled mind' leaking away in lonely, wasteful self-conflict.
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.
Trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, shall be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.
It was only when I lay there on the rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not between states nor between social classes nor between political parties, but right through every human heart, through all human hearts. And that is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me, bless you, prison, for having been a part of my life.
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.