Prisons don't rehabilitate, they don't punish, they don't protect, so what the hell do they do?
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.
Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached.
The best situation of all, and one frequently utilized, is for jails and prisons to allow volunteer ministers of all faiths to enter prisons and offer their services to the inmates who want them. That way, the religious needs of inmates are met but without government funds being spent.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
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.”
The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.
It isn't true that convicts live like animals: animals have more room to move around.
The mellow sweetness of pumpkin pie off a prison spoon is something you will never forget.
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.
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.
I have been studying how I may compare this prison where I live unto the world; Shut up in the prison of their own consciences.
The contagion of crime is like that of the plague. Criminals collected together corrupt each other; they are worse than ever when at the termination of their punishment they re-enter society.
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.
Prosecution I have managed to avoid; but I have been arrested, charged in a police court, have refused to be bound over, and thereupon have been unconditionally released - to my great regret; for I have always wanted to know what going to prison was like.
If punishment reaches not the mind and makes not the will supple, it hardens the offender.
Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our duty is to furnish it well.
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.