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.
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 thoughts of a prisoner - they're not free either. They keep returning to the same things.
It is true you cannot eat freedom and you cannot power machinery with democracy. But then neither can political prisoners turn on the light in the cells of a dictatorship.
Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
I know not whether laws be right, or whether laws be wrong; All that we know who lie in gaol is that the wall is strong; And that each day is like a year, a year whose days are long.
You utter a vow, or forge a signature, and you may find yourself bound for life to a monastery, a woman, or prison.
On a planet that increasingly resembles one huge Maximum Security prison, the only intelligent choice is to plan a jail break.
Money will determine whether the accused goes to prison or walks out of the courtroom a free man.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
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.
Every instance of a man's suffering the penalty of the law is an instance of the failure of that penalty in effecting its purpose, which is to deter.
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.
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.