Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
America is the land of the second chance – and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.
The world itself is but a large prison, out of which some are daily led to execution.
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.
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
Civilization is maintained by a very few people in a small number of places and we need only some bombs and a few prisons to blot it out altogether.
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
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.
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.
I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.
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.
A country is in a bad state, which is governed only by laws; because a thousand things occur for which laws cannot provide, and where authority ought to interpose.
Nor cell, nor chain, nor dungeon speaks to the murderer like the voice of solitude.
Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached.
If punishment reaches not the mind and makes not the will supple, it hardens the offender.
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.