In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
Wicked deeds are generally done, even with impunity, for the mere desire of occupation.
Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.
Every instance of a man's suffering the penalty of the law is an instance of the failure of that penalty in effecting its purpose, which is to deter.
Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a God.
The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.
Whatever is worthy to be loved for anything is worthy of preservation. A wise and dispassionate legislator, if any such should ever arise among men, will not condemn to death him who has done or is likely to do more service than injury to society. Blocks and gibbets are the nearest objects with legislators, and their business is never with hopes or with virtues.
Trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, shall be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.
Justice is justice though it's always delayed and finally done only by mistake.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
It is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer.
History is full of people who went to prison or were burned at the stake for proclaiming their ideas. Society has always defended itself.
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.
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.
They were being driven to a prison, through no fault of their own, in all probability for life. In comparison, how much easier it would be to walk to the gallows than to this tomb of living horrors!
I wrote a million words in the first year, and I could never have done that outside of prison.
Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our duty is to furnish it well.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.