I have been studying how I may compare this prison where I live unto the world; Shut up in the prison of their own consciences.
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.
We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, chiefly I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses.
Here the great art lies, to discern in what the law is to be to restraint and punishment, and in what things persuasion only is to work.
I have paid no poll-tax for six years. I was put into a jail once on this account, for one night; and, as I stood considering the walls of solid stone, I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated me as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up...I saw that, if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through, before they could get to be as free as I was. I did not for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar.
In prisons, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all.
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
Federal prison, if you get any of it, you're going to have to do 85% of it. And the reason why I called it that is because I had a friend who got sent to the federal joint and his whole... it wasn't about him being in jail. He cried about the 85%.
The worst of prison life, he thought, was not being able to close his door.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
I just remember that disturbing feeling of walking into that prison, the complete loss of privacy, the complete loss of stimulation, dignity.
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.
I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky.
Prison makes you a better judge of character. You pick up on people much faster.
Corporal punishment falls far more heavily than most weighty pecuniary penalty.
I am an expert of electricity. My father occupied the chair of applied electricity at the state prison.
I wrote a million words in the first year, and I could never have done that outside of prison.