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.
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.
Faults of the head are punished in this world, those of the heart in another; but as most of our vices are compound, so also is their punishment.
It is true you cannot eat freedom and you cannot power machinery with democracy. But then neither can political prisoners turn on the light in the cells of a dictatorship.
The mellow sweetness of pumpkin pie off a prison spoon is something you will never forget.
If it's near dinner-time, the foreman takes out his watch when the jury has retired, and says: "Dear me, gentlemen, ten minutes to five, I declare! I dine at five, gentlemen." "So do I," says everybody else, except two men who ought to have dined at three and seem more than half disposed to stand out in consequence. The foreman smiles, and puts up his watch:--"Well, gentlemen, what do we say, plaintiff or defendant, gentlemen?
There are few better measures of the concern a society has for its individual members and its own well being than the way it handles criminals.
One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.
When is conduct a crime, and when is a crime not a crime? When Somebody Up There -- a monarch, a dictator, a Pope, a legislator -- so decrees.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
There is no greater punishment of wickedness that that it is dissatisfied with itself and its deeds.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.
Written laws are like spiders' webs, and will, like them, only entangle and hold the poor and weak, while the rich and powerful will easily break through them.
Wicked deeds are generally done, even with impunity, for the mere desire of occupation.
A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.
If punishment reaches not the mind and makes not the will supple, it hardens the offender.
A just chastisement may benefit a man, though it seldom does; but an unjust one changes all his blood to gall.