If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst!
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
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.”
Whatever is worthy to be loved for anything is worthy of preservation. A wise and dispassionate legislator, if any such should ever arise among men, will not condemn to death him who has done or is likely to do more service than injury to society. Blocks and gibbets are the nearest objects with legislators, and their business is never with hopes or with virtues.
One man meets an infamous punishment for that crime which confers a diadem upon another.
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.
The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor.
I wrote a million words in the first year, and I could never have done that outside of prison.
We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business.
The world itself is but a large prison, out of which some are daily led to execution.
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.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.
If we were brought to trial for the crimes we have committed against ourselves, few would escape the gallows.
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.
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.