One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.
Law is merely the expression of the will of the strongest for the time being, and therefore laws have no fixity, but shift from generation to generation.
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
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.
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.
Any punishment that does not correct, that can merely rouse rebellion in whoever has to endure it, is a piece of gratuitous infamy which makes those who impose it more guilty in the eyes of humanity, good sense and reason, nay a hundred times more guilty than the victim on whom the punishment is inflicted.
It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.
The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.
Most people fancy themselves innocent of those crimes of which they cannot be convicted.
Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing, but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.
If we look at Houston, which is a very environmentally toxic place, we find that it has one of the highest levels of young men going to prison and also among the highest levels of illiteracy in the country.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.
Overlook our deeds, since you know that crime was absent from our inclination.
No matter how you seem to fatten on a crime, that can never be good for the bee which is bad for the hive.
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.