To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
It is impossible to go through life without trust: That is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.
Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton.
The only effect of public punishment is to show the rabble how bravely it can be borne; and that every one who hath lost a toe-nail hath suffered worse.
Prison continues, on those who are entrusted to it, a work begun elsewhere, which the whole of society pursues on each individual through innumerable mechanisms of discipline.
I was put into jail as I was going to the shoemaker's to get a shoe which was mended. When I was let out the next morning, I proceeded to finish my errand, and, having put on my mended shoe, joined a huckleberry party, who were impatient to put themselves under my conduct; and in half an hour -- for the horse was soon tackled -- was in the midst of a huckleberry field, on one of our highest hills, two miles off, and then the State was nowhere to be seen.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
By noiselessly going to a prison a civil-resister ensures a calm atmosphere.
Prisons don't rehabilitate, they don't punish, they don't protect, so what the hell do they do?
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.
The torment of human frustration, whatever its immediate cause, is the knowledge that the self is in prison, its vital force and 'mangled mind' leaking away in lonely, wasteful self-conflict.
The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.
Forgiveness, that noblest of all self-denial, is a virtue which he alone who can practise in himself can willingly believe in another.
If we were brought to trial for the crimes we have committed against ourselves, few would escape the gallows.