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.
We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business.
There is no greater punishment of wickedness that that it is dissatisfied with itself and its deeds.
Most people fancy themselves innocent of those crimes of which they cannot be convicted.
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.
On a planet that increasingly resembles one huge Maximum Security prison, the only intelligent choice is to plan a jail break.
If punishment reaches not the mind and makes not the will supple, it hardens the offender.
Prisons don't rehabilitate, they don't punish, they don't protect, so what the hell do they do?
It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their own kind.
Show me the prison, Show me the jail, Show me the prisoner whose life has gone stale. And I'll show you a young man with so many reasons why And there, but for fortune, go you or I.
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.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
History is full of people who went to prison or were burned at the stake for proclaiming their ideas. Society has always defended itself.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.
By noiselessly going to a prison a civil-resister ensures a calm atmosphere.
Any punishment that does not correct, that can merely rouse rebellion in whoever has to endure it, is a piece of gratuitous infamy which makes those who impose it more guilty in the eyes of humanity, good sense and reason, nay a hundred times more guilty than the victim on whom the punishment is inflicted.