I never told a victim story about my imprisonment. Instead, I told a transformation story - about how prison changed my outlook, about how I saw that communication, truth, and trust are at the heart of power.
America is the land of the second chance – and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.
Forgiveness, that noblest of all self-denial, is a virtue which he alone who can practise in himself can willingly believe in another.
Since 1957, black people have experienced double-digit unemployment - in good times and bad times. Look at the population of African Americans in prison. They represent more than half the population of prisoners in the country, 55 percent of those on death row.
Trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, shall be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.
No matter how you seem to fatten on a crime, that can never be good for the bee which is bad for the hive.
Nor cell, nor chain, nor dungeon speaks to the murderer like the voice of solitude.
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.
Experts and the educated elite have replaced what worked with what sounded good. Society was far more civilized before they took over our schools, prisons, welfare programs, police departments and courts. It's high time we ran these people out of our lives and went back to common sense.
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.
He was a first-time nonviolent possible offender, ... And under the mandatory minimums, he was put in prison for 15 years. Not only does the punishment not fit the crime, but the mandatory minimums don't give judges any discretion to look at the background of the case, to read into the specifics of the case. I don't know a judge who really is in favor of the mandatory minimums.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
There is no greater punishment of wickedness that that it is dissatisfied with itself and its deeds.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
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.
You utter a vow, or forge a signature, and you may find yourself bound for life to a monastery, a woman, or prison.
In prisons, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all.
If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking…is freedom.