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.
Prisons don't rehabilitate, they don't punish, they don't protect, so what the hell do they do?
To be in prison so long, it's difficult to remember exactly what you did to get there.
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.
It is not at the table, but in prison, that you learn who your true friends are.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
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.
America is the land of the second chance – and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.
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.
We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business.
Those magistrates who can prevent crime, and do not, in effect encourage it.
I asked a man in prison once how he happened to be there and he said he had stolen a pair of shoes. I told him if he had stolen a railroad he would be a United States Senator.