No matter how you seem to fatten on a crime, that can never be good for the bee which is bad for the hive.
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.
Trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, shall be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.
It is true you cannot eat freedom and you cannot power machinery with democracy. But then neither can political prisoners turn on the light in the cells of a dictatorship.
If it's near dinner-time, the foreman takes out his watch when the jury has retired, and says: "Dear me, gentlemen, ten minutes to five, I declare! I dine at five, gentlemen." "So do I," says everybody else, except two men who ought to have dined at three and seem more than half disposed to stand out in consequence. The foreman smiles, and puts up his watch:--"Well, gentlemen, what do we say, plaintiff or defendant, gentlemen?
The thoughts of a prisoner - they're not free either. They keep returning to the same things.
The uneven impact of actual enforcement measures tends to mirror and reinforce more general patterns of discrimination (along socioeconomic, racial and ethnic, sexual, and perhaps generational lines) within the society. As a consequence, such enforcement (ineffective as it may be in producing conformity) almost certainly reinforces feelings of alienation already prevalent within major segments of the population.
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.
I wrote a million words in the first year, and I could never have done that outside of prison.
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
Adversities such as being homeless and going to prison has made many people stronger.
The only effect of public punishment is to show the rabble how bravely it can be borne; and that every one who hath lost a toe-nail hath suffered worse.
It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their own kind.
One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.
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.