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.
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.
Nor cell, nor chain, nor dungeon speaks to the murderer like the voice of solitude.
To seek the redress of grievances by going to law, is like sheep running for shelter to a bramble bush.
Crime is a logical extension of the sort of behavior that often [is] considered perfectly respectable in legitimate business.
It is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer.
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 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.
We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business.
There are only two places in the world where time takes precedence over the job to be done. School and prison.
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.
The public have more interest in the punishment of an injury than he who receives it.
I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.