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.
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.
Society has used the juvenile courts to create a caste system where there are throw-away people.
The only difference between me and my fellow actors is that I've spent more time in jail.
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.
Overlook our deeds, since you know that crime was absent from our inclination.
A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that's unlocked and opens inwards, as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.
I have been studying how I may compare this prison where I live unto the world; Shut up in the prison of their own consciences.
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
We who live in prison, and in whose lives there is no event but sorrow, have to measure time by throbs of pain, and the record of bitter moments.
You utter a vow, or forge a signature, and you may find yourself bound for life to a monastery, a woman, or prison.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.
The English laws punish vice; the Chinese laws do more, they reward virtue.
Faults of the head are punished in this world, those of the heart in another; but as most of our vices are compound, so also is their punishment.
No man survives when freedom fails. The best men rot in filthy jails, and those who cry 'appease, appease' are hanged by those they tried to please.
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.
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.