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Many a wise person has pondered the plight of the prisoner. From Mark Twain to Oscar Wilde to Fyodor Dostoevsky, the issue of imprisonment has inspired many heartfelt remarks. The following quotes speak to our intellect as well as our emotions. In a society that rushes to warehouse human lives, we urge you to slow down, pause, and contemplate the unique reality of imprisonment. We hope you will find yourself thinking - perhaps even feeling - that we can do better.

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We are all conceived in close prison; in our mother’s wombs, we are close prisoners all; when we are born, we are born but to the liberty of the house; prisoners still, though within larger walls; and then all our life is but a going out to the place of execution, to death.
~John Donne
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There is one kind of prison where the man is behind bars, and everything that he desires is outside; and there is another kind where the things are behind the bars, and the man is outside.
~Upton Sinclair
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I was most happy when pen and paper were taken from me and I was forbidden from doing anything. I had no anxiety about doing nothing by my own fault, my conscience was clear, and I was happy. This was when I was in prison.
~Daniil Kharms
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It was when I was in a police cell at the C.I.D. (Central Intelligence Division) headquarters in Lagos; the cell I was in named "The Kalakuta Republic" by the prisoners. I found out when I went to East Africa that "Kalakuta" is a Swahili word that means "rascal." So if rascality is going to get us what we want, we will use it; because we are dealing with corrupt people, we have to be rascally with them.
~Fela Anikulapo Kuti
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They took away my money, my family, and my security. Why couldn't they destroy my ideas? We will question them in court tomorrow as we trigger The Revolution of all revolutions!
~Jordan Couch
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The only difference between me and my fellow actors is that I've spent more time in jail.
~Robert Mitchum
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Jails and prisons are the complement of schools; so many less as you have of the latter, so many more must you have of the former.
~Horace Mann
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It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.
~Thomas Jefferson
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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.
~Alexander Solzhenitsyn
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I don't like jail, they got the wrong kind of bars in there.
~Charles Bukowski
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