Justice is that virtue of the soul which is distributive according to desert.
If we were brought to trial for the crimes we have committed against ourselves, few would escape the gallows.
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.
Prison, dungeons, blessed places where evil is impossible because they are the crossroads of all the evil in the world. One cannot commit evil in hell.
Whatever you think of de Sade, he was a complex figure and we should not look for easy answers with him. He was, strangely perhaps, against the death penalty, and he was never put in prison for murders or anything like that.
It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their own kind.
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 submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
Any punishment that does not correct, that can merely rouse rebellion in whoever has to endure it, is a piece of gratuitous infamy which makes those who impose it more guilty in the eyes of humanity, good sense and reason, nay a hundred times more guilty than the victim on whom the punishment is inflicted.
Overlook our deeds, since you know that crime was absent from our inclination.
It is hard, but it is excellent, to find the right knowledge of when correction is necessary and when grace doth most avail.
When is conduct a crime, and when is a crime not a crime? When Somebody Up There -- a monarch, a dictator, a Pope, a legislator -- so decrees.
We're in a war. People who blast some pot on a casual basis are guilty of treason.
Fast closed with double grills
And triple gates – the cell
To wicked souls is hell;
But to a mind that's innocent
'Tis only iron, wood and stone.
I have been studying how I may compare This prison where I live unto the world; And, for because the world is populous, And here is not a creature but myself, I cannot do it. Yet I'll hammer it out.
I wrote a million words in the first year, and I could never have done that outside of prison.