The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, chiefly I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
The idea that the sole aim of punishment is to prevent crime is obviously grounded upon the theory that crime can be prevented, which is almost as dubious as the notion that poverty can be prevented.
I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky.
A country is in a bad state, which is governed only by laws; because a thousand things occur for which laws cannot provide, and where authority ought to interpose.
You utter a vow, or forge a signature, and you may find yourself bound for life to a monastery, a woman, or prison.
Justice is justice though it's always delayed and finally done only by mistake.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.
Justice is that virtue of the soul which is distributive according to desert.
One man meets an infamous punishment for that crime which confers a diadem upon another.
He had drawn many a thousand of these rations in prisons and camps, and though he'd never had an opportunity to weight them on scales, and although, being a man of timid nature, he knew no way of standing up for his rights, he, like every other prisoner, had discovered long ago that honest weight was never to be found in the bread-cutting. There was short weight in every ration. The only point was how short. So every day you took a look to soothe your soul - today, maybe, they haven't snitched any.
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
In jail a man has no personality. He is a minor disposal problem and a few entries on reports. Nobody cares who loves or hates him, what he looks like, what he did with his life. Nobody reacts to him unless he gives trouble. Nobody abuses him. All that is asked of him is that he go quietly to the right cell and remain quiet when he gets there. There is nothing to fight against, nothing to be mad at. The jailers are quiet men without animosity or sadism.
No obligation to justice does force a man to be cruel, or to use the sharpest sentence.
Show me the prison, Show me the jail, Show me the prisoner whose life has gone stale. And I'll show you a young man with so many reasons why And there, but for fortune, go you or I.