The worst prison is not of stone. It is of a throbbing heart, outraged by an infamous life.
Three hundred years ago a prisoner condemned to the Tower of London carved on the wall of his cell this sentiment to keep up his spirits during his long imprisonment: “It is not adversity that kills, but the impatience with which we bear adversity.”
To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
Before we can diminish our sufferings from the ill-controlled aggressive assaults of fellow citizens, we must renounce the philosophy of punishment, the obsolete, vengeful penal attitude. In its place we would seek a comprehensive, constructive social attitude - therapeutic in some instances, restraining in some instances, but preventive in its total social impact. In the last analysis this becomes a question of personal morals and values. No matter how glorified or how piously disguised, vengeance as a human motive must be personally repudiated by each and every one of us.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking…is freedom.
Overlook our deeds, since you know that crime was absent from our inclination.
I wrote a million words in the first year, and I could never have done that outside of prison.
The thoughts of a prisoner - they're not free either. They keep returning to the same things.
Nor cell, nor chain, nor dungeon speaks to the murderer like the voice of solitude.
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.
Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our duty is to furnish it well.