A just chastisement may benefit a man, though it seldom does; but an unjust one changes all his blood to gall.
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.
Those magistrates who can prevent crime, and do not, in effect encourage it.
It was only when I lay there on the rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not between states nor between social classes nor between political parties, but right through every human heart, through all human hearts. And that is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me, bless you, prison, for having been a part of my life.
You utter a vow, or forge a signature, and you may find yourself bound for life to a monastery, a woman, or prison.
The thoughts of a prisoner - they're not free either. They keep returning to the same things.
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
The only effect of public punishment is to show the rabble how bravely it can be borne; and that every one who hath lost a toe-nail hath suffered worse.
Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices - just recognize them.
It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.
Crime is a logical extension of the sort of behavior that often [is] considered perfectly respectable in legitimate business.
Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton.
No man survives when freedom fails. The best men rot in filthy jails, and those who cry 'appease, appease' are hanged by those they tried to please.
In prisons, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all.
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.
Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.
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.
It is safer that a bad man should not be accused, than that he should be acquitted.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.