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.
The refined punishments of the spiritual mode are usually much more indecent and dangerous than a good smack.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
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.
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 worst of prison life, he thought, was not being able to close his door.
The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
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.
To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.
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.
If we were brought to trial for the crimes we have committed against ourselves, few would escape the gallows.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.
No obligation to justice does force a man to be cruel, or to use the sharpest sentence.
Every crime has, in the moment of its perpetration, Its own avenging angel--dark misgiving, An ominous sinking at the inmost heart.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
It is hard, but it is excellent, to find the right knowledge of when correction is necessary and when grace doth most avail.