The idea that the sole aim of punishment is to prevent crime is obviously grounded upon the theory that crime can be prevented, which is almost as dubious as the notion that poverty can be prevented.
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.
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 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.
History is full of people who went to prison or were burned at the stake for proclaiming their ideas. Society has always defended itself.
When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.
One of the problems that the marijuana reform movement consistently faces is that everyone wants to talk about what marijuana does, but no one ever wants to look at what marijuana prohibition does. Marijuana never kicks down your door in the middle of the night. Marijuana never locks up sick and dying people, does not suppress medical research, does not peek in bedroom windows.
The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor.
No obligation to justice does force a man to be cruel, or to use the sharpest sentence.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.
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.