The path of progress has never taken a straight line, but has always been a zigzag course amid the conflicting forces of right and wrong, truth and error, justice and injustice, cruelty and mercy.

Kelly Miller

A great deal in life depends on who smacked your hand at breakfast when you were a child.

Krzysztof Kieślowski

Corporal punishment is as humiliating for him who gives it as for him who receives it; it is ineffective besides. Neither shame nor physical pain have any other effect than a hardening one.

Ellen Key

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty.

Albert Einstein

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.

Mahatma Gandhi

So long as governments set the example of killing their enemies, private individuals will occasionally kill theirs. 

Elbert Hubbard

“Criminal justice” was a term she found more apt than it was meant to be.

Barbara Neely

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

Just as the prisoner was being strapped into the electric chair, the priest said, “Son, is there anything I can do for you?” The prisoner said, “Yeah, when they pull the switch, hold my hand.”

Dick Gregory

If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic schoolchildren would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.

Lenny Bruce

I think capital punishment works great. Every killer you kill never kills again.

Bill Maher

We hand folks over to God’s mercy, and show none ourselves.

George Eliot

Something of vengeance I had tasted for the first time; as aromatic wine it seemed, on swallowing, warm and racy: its after-flavor, metallic and corroding, gave me a sensation as if I had been poisoned.

Charlotte Brontë

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.

Catherine Ponder

The most authentic sign we can give ourselves that we have actually begun the process of forgiveness is our prayer. This is true even if the only prayer we can say is to ask to want to forgive. In the beginning it may be too much for us even to pray for the person who hurt us. Perhaps all we can do is to pray for ourselves — to pray that for our own sake we may begin the process of forgiveness.

William A. Meninger

What we forgive too freely doesn’t stay forgiven. 

Mignon McLaughlin

Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude. 

Martin Luther King Jr.

Lack of understanding of the true nature of happiness, it seems to me, is the principal reason why people inflict sufferings on others. They think either that the other’s pain may somehow be a cause of happiness for themselves or that their own happiness is more important, regardless of what pain it may cause. But this is shortsighted. No one truly benefits from causing harm to another sentient being. . . . In the long run causing others misery and infringing their rights to peace and happiness result in anxiety, fear, and suspicion within oneself.

The Dalai Lama

Forgiveness is no substitute for justice.

Pope Benedict XVI

Forgiveness and reconciliation are not just ethereal, spiritual, otherworldly activities. . . . They are realpolitik, because in a very real sense, without forgiveness, there is no future.

Desmond Tutu