The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.
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.
The refined punishments of the spiritual mode are usually much more indecent and dangerous than a good smack.
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.
Concepts of justice must have hands and feet to carry out justice in every case in the shortest possible time and the lowest possible cost. That is the challenge to every lawyer and judge in America.
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.
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!
You utter a vow, or forge a signature, and you may find yourself bound for life to a monastery, a woman, or prison.
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass, Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron, Can be retentive to the strength of spirit; But life, being weary of these worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
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.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.
Written laws are like spiders' webs, and will, like them, only entangle and hold the poor and weak, while the rich and powerful will easily break through them.
Trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, shall be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.
When is conduct a crime, and when is a crime not a crime? When Somebody Up There -- a monarch, a dictator, a Pope, a legislator -- so decrees.
It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.