The contagion of crime is like that of the plague. Criminals collected together corrupt each other; they are worse than ever when at the termination of their punishment they re-enter society.
Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing, but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.
Justice is justice though it's always delayed and finally done only by mistake.
Since 1957, black people have experienced double-digit unemployment - in good times and bad times. Look at the population of African Americans in prison. They represent more than half the population of prisoners in the country, 55 percent of those on death row.
The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, chiefly I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses.
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.
It is hard, but it is excellent, to find the right knowledge of when correction is necessary and when grace doth most avail.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
Society has used the juvenile courts to create a caste system where there are throw-away people.
The public have more interest in the punishment of an injury than he who receives it.
There are dreadful punishments enacted against thieves; but it were much better to make such good provisions, by which every man might be put in a method how to live, and so to be preserved from the fatal necessity of stealing and dying for it.
No man survives when freedom fails. The best men rot in filthy jails, and those who cry 'appease, appease' are hanged by those they tried to please.
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.
Nor cell, nor chain, nor dungeon speaks to the murderer like the voice of solitude.