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.
It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.
I can tell you this on a stack of Bibles: prisons are archaic, brutal, unregenerative, overcrowded hell holes where the inmates are treated like animals with absolutely not one humane thought given to what they are going to do once they are released. You're an animal in a cage and you're treated like one.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.
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.
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
If punishment reaches not the mind and makes not the will supple, it hardens the offender.
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.
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.
The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, chiefly I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses.
Forgiveness, that noblest of all self-denial, is a virtue which he alone who can practise in himself can willingly believe in another.
I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky.
Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass, Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron, Can be retentive to the strength of spirit; But life, being weary of these worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
Overlook our deeds, since you know that crime was absent from our inclination.