The refined punishments of the spiritual mode are usually much more indecent and dangerous than a good smack.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
If punishment reaches not the mind and makes not the will supple, it hardens the offender.
To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.
History is full of people who went to prison or were burned at the stake for proclaiming their ideas. Society has always defended itself.
It is safer that a bad man should not be accused, than that he should be acquitted.
There are only two places in the world where time takes precedence over the job to be done. School and prison.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
To seek the redress of grievances by going to law, is like sheep running for shelter to a bramble bush.
There are dreadful punishments enacted against thieves; but it were much better to make such good provisions, by which every man might be put in a method how to live, and so to be preserved from the fatal necessity of stealing and dying for it.
Most people fancy themselves innocent of those crimes of which they cannot be convicted.
Money will determine whether the accused goes to prison or walks out of the courtroom a free man.
Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrist? And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists? And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air? Oh they're taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.
On average, drug prisoners spend more time in federal prison than rapists, who often get out on early release because of the overcrowding in prison caused by the Drug War.
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.
Law is merely the expression of the will of the strongest for the time being, and therefore laws have no fixity, but shift from generation to generation.
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.
No obligation to justice does force a man to be cruel, or to use the sharpest sentence.