When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
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 matter how you seem to fatten on a crime, that can never be good for the bee which is bad for the hive.
History is full of people who went to prison or were burned at the stake for proclaiming their ideas. Society has always defended itself.
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization.
The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.
To be in prison so long, it's difficult to remember exactly what you did to get there.
There is no peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war - at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake.
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.
Prisons don't rehabilitate, they don't punish, they don't protect, so what the hell do they do?
If it's near dinner-time, the foreman takes out his watch when the jury has retired, and says: "Dear me, gentlemen, ten minutes to five, I declare! I dine at five, gentlemen." "So do I," says everybody else, except two men who ought to have dined at three and seem more than half disposed to stand out in consequence. The foreman smiles, and puts up his watch:--"Well, gentlemen, what do we say, plaintiff or defendant, gentlemen?
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
Trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, shall be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.
There are few better measures of the concern a society has for its individual members and its own well being than the way it handles criminals.
The only difference between me and my fellow actors is that I've spent more time in jail.
Prison continues, on those who are entrusted to it, a work begun elsewhere, which the whole of society pursues on each individual through innumerable mechanisms of discipline.
We who live in prison, and in whose lives there is no event but sorrow, have to measure time by throbs of pain, and the record of bitter moments.
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.
They took away my money, my family, and my security. Why couldn't they destroy my ideas? We will question them in court tomorrow as we trigger The Revolution of all revolutions!