There is no greater punishment of wickedness that that it is dissatisfied with itself and its deeds.
I am an expert of electricity. My father occupied the chair of applied electricity at the state prison.
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization.
Those magistrates who can prevent crime, and do not, in effect encourage it.
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.
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.
The only difference between me and my fellow actors is that I've spent more time in jail.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
History is full of people who went to prison or were burned at the stake for proclaiming their ideas. Society has always defended itself.
It is hard, but it is excellent, to find the right knowledge of when correction is necessary and when grace doth most avail.
It is impossible to go through life without trust: That is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.
It is true you cannot eat freedom and you cannot power machinery with democracy. But then neither can political prisoners turn on the light in the cells of a dictatorship.
It was only when I lay there on the rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not between states nor between social classes nor between political parties, but right through every human heart, through all human hearts. And that is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me, bless you, prison, for having been a part of my life.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.