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.
It is hard, but it is excellent, to find the right knowledge of when correction is necessary and when grace doth most avail.
Society has used the juvenile courts to create a caste system where there are throw-away people.
Justice is that virtue of the soul which is distributive according to desert.
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.”
The idea that the sole aim of punishment is to prevent crime is obviously grounded upon the theory that crime can be prevented, which is almost as dubious as the notion that poverty can be prevented.
There is no peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war - at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake.
The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, chiefly I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses.
By noiselessly going to a prison a civil-resister ensures a calm atmosphere.
To seek the redress of grievances by going to law, is like sheep running for shelter to a bramble bush.
When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
Written laws are like spiders' webs, and will, like them, only entangle and hold the poor and weak, while the rich and powerful will easily break through them.
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
A just chastisement may benefit a man, though it seldom does; but an unjust one changes all his blood to gall.
We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business.