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.
The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.
A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.
It is impossible to go through life without trust: That is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.
Society has used the juvenile courts to create a caste system where there are throw-away people.
You utter a vow, or forge a signature, and you may find yourself bound for life to a monastery, a woman, or prison.
Three hundred years ago a prisoner condemned to the Tower of London carved on the wall of his cell this sentiment to keep up his spirits during his long imprisonment: “It is not adversity that kills, but the impatience with which we bear adversity.”
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.
To try to raise a son from inside the prison walls is a very difficult thing. But I want to say to the world my son at 16 was the one who tried the most to get me out of prison.
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing, but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.
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.
I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.
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.
I asked a man in prison once how he happened to be there and he said he had stolen a pair of shoes. I told him if he had stolen a railroad he would be a United States Senator.
By noiselessly going to a prison a civil-resister ensures a calm atmosphere.