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.
The world itself is but a large prison, out of which some are daily led to execution.
The mellow sweetness of pumpkin pie off a prison spoon is something you will never forget.
In prisons, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all.
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?
Wicked deeds are generally done, even with impunity, for the mere desire of occupation.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.
Most people fancy themselves innocent of those crimes of which they cannot be convicted.
Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our duty is to furnish it well.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.
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.
There is no greater punishment of wickedness that that it is dissatisfied with itself and its deeds.
There are dreadful punishments enacted against thieves; but it were much better to make such good provisions, by which every man might be put in a method how to live, and so to be preserved from the fatal necessity of stealing and dying for it.
Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing, but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.
It is certain that the study of human psychology, if it were undertaken exclusively in prisons, would also lead to misrepresentation and absurd generalizations.