I know not whether laws be right, or whether laws be wrong; All that we know who lie in gaol is that the wall is strong; And that each day is like a year, a year whose days are long.
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.
I can tell you this on a stack of Bibles: prisons are archaic, brutal, unregenerative, overcrowded hell holes where the inmates are treated like animals with absolutely not one humane thought given to what they are going to do once they are released. You're an animal in a cage and you're treated like one.
No obligation to justice does force a man to be cruel, or to use the sharpest sentence.
Crime is a logical extension of the sort of behavior that often [is] considered perfectly respectable in legitimate business.
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.
I just remember that disturbing feeling of walking into that prison, the complete loss of privacy, the complete loss of stimulation, dignity.
I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
We're in a war. People who blast some pot on a casual basis are guilty of treason.
When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
We have our own system, ... and journalists in our system are not put in prison for embarrassing the government by revealing things the government might not wish to have revealed. The important thing is that our system, under which journalists can write without fear or favor, should continue.
Fear can be like a prison. It is, however, a self made prison. Many are imprisoned by fear. No one else can liberate them from this prison. Others may inspire them but they must liberate themselves.
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.
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.
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.
Civilization is maintained by a very few people in a small number of places and we need only some bombs and a few prisons to blot it out altogether.
Intellectual despair results in neither weakness nor dreams, but in violence. It is only a matter of knowing how to give vent to one's rage; whether one only wants to wander like madmen around prisons, or whether one wants to overturn them.