In jail a man has no personality. He is a minor disposal problem and a few entries on reports. Nobody cares who loves or hates him, what he looks like, what he did with his life. Nobody reacts to him unless he gives trouble. Nobody abuses him. All that is asked of him is that he go quietly to the right cell and remain quiet when he gets there. There is nothing to fight against, nothing to be mad at. The jailers are quiet men without animosity or sadism.
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 perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.
I wrote a million words in the first year, and I could never have done that outside of prison.
A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.
Those magistrates who can prevent crime, and do not, in effect encourage it.
I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
Prison makes you a better judge of character. You pick up on people much faster.
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.
There are few better measures of the concern a society has for its individual members and its own well being than the way it handles criminals.
It is safer that a bad man should not be accused, than that he should be acquitted.
To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.
Three hundred years ago a prisoner condemned to the Tower of London carved on the wall of his cell this sentiment to keep up his spirits during his long imprisonment: “It is not adversity that kills, but the impatience with which we bear adversity.”
They're not supposed to show prison films in prison. Especially ones that are about escaping.
The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.