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Prison Quotes

Vices are not crimes.

Lysander Spooner
Total votes: 27

One man meets an infamous punishment for that crime which confers a diadem upon another.

Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenal)
Total votes: 63

If you treat prisoners well, they will be less angry, less inclined to violence inside prison, less likely to provoke violent actions by guards, less likely to have reason to file brutality lawsuits that cost taxpayers a bundle and waste administrators' time. And most important, well-treated prisoners will be less likely to leave prison angrier, more vicious and more inclined to criminal behavior than when they went in.

Frank Wood, Commissioner of Corrections, Minnesota
Total votes: 35

What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.

H. L. Mencken
Total votes: 70

Well does Heaven have care that no man secures happiness by crime.

Vittorio Alfieri
Total votes: 44

Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our duty is to furnish it well.

Peter Ustinov
Total votes: 37

Prison continues, on those who are entrusted to it, a work begun elsewhere, which the whole of society pursues on each individual through innumerable mechanisms of discipline.

Michel Foucault
Total votes: 35

It is not at the table, but in prison, that you learn who your true friends are.

Serbian Proverb
Total votes: 53


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Total votes: 32

Care should be taken that the punishment does not exceed the guilt; and also that some men do not suffer for offenses for which others are not even indicted.

Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero)
Total votes: 36

Nelson Mandela and Malcolm X came out of prison stronger.

Philip Emeagwali
Total votes: 34


Whatever is worthy to be loved for anything is worthy of preservation. A wise and dispassionate legislator, if any such should ever arise among men, will not condemn to death him who has done or is likely to do more service than injury to society. Blocks and gibbets are the nearest objects with legislators, and their business is never with hopes or with virtues.

Walter Savage Landor
Total votes: 40

Hanging was the worst use a man could be put to.

Sir Henry Wotton
Total votes: 52

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.”

Father James Keller
Total votes: 42

Wicked deeds are generally done, even with impunity, for the mere desire of occupation.

Marcellinus Ammianus
Total votes: 35

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.

Henry David Thoreau
Total votes: 33

I was in prison, and you came unto me. Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
~(Jesus Christ) Matthew 25:36, 40

(Jesus Christ) Matthew 25:36, 40
Total votes: 41

The punishment can be remitted; the crime is everlasting.

Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso)
Total votes: 53

I don't like jail, they got the wrong kind of bars in there.

Charles Bukowski
Total votes: 37

A just chastisement may benefit a man, though it seldom does; but an unjust one changes all his blood to gall.

Ouida (pseudonym of Marie Louise de la Ramee)
Total votes: 33

While we have prisons it matters little which of us occupy the cells.

George Bernard Shaw
Total votes: 53

They were being driven to a prison, through no fault of their own, in all probability for life. In comparison, how much easier it would be to walk to the gallows than to this tomb of living horrors!

Nellie Bly
Total votes: 40

I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky.

Oscar Wilde
Total votes: 46

Virtue pardons the wicked, as the sandal-tree perfumes the axe which strikes it.

Moslih Eddin
Total votes: 47

The English laws punish vice; the Chinese laws do more, they reward virtue.

Oliver Goldsmith
Total votes: 36