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Prison Quotes

The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.

Attributed to Fyodor Dostoevsky (Unverfied)
Total votes: 29

Fast closed with double grills And triple gates–the cell To wicked souls is hell; But to a mind that's innocent 'Tis only iron, wood and stone.

Paul Pelisson Fontanier
Total votes: 30

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.

Henry David Thoreau
Total votes: 32

The power of punishment is to silence, not to confute.

Samuel Johnson
Total votes: 17

There are few better measures of the concern a society has for its individual members and its own well being than the way it handles criminals.

Ramsey Clark
Total votes: 33

Adversities such as being homeless and going to prison has made many people stronger.

Philip Emeagwali
Total votes: 24

Corporal punishment falls far more heavily than most weighty pecuniary penalty.

Seneca
Total votes: 21

To be in prison so long, it's difficult to remember exactly what you did to get there.

Jack Henry Abbott
Total votes: 26

Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached.

Antonin Scalia
Total votes: 24

It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.

Earl Warren
Total votes: 33

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.

Jimmy Hoffa
Total votes: 33

Trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, shall be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.

Thomas Denman
Total votes: 24

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

Sir Henry Wotton
Total votes: 26

Some laws of state aimed at curbing crime are even more criminal.

Friedrich Engels
Total votes: 25

Concepts of justice must have hands and feet to carry out justice in every case in the shortest possible time and the lowest possible cost. That is the challenge to every lawyer and judge in America.

Warren E. Burger
Total votes: 23

Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing, but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.

A. R. Ammons
Total votes: 23

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: 21

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: 24


Written laws are like spiders' webs, and will, like them, only entangle and hold the poor and weak, while the rich and powerful will easily break through them.

Anacharsis
Total votes: 26

If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst!

James Connolly
Total votes: 18

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: 21

The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor.

H. L. Mencken
Total votes: 18

Show me the prison, Show me the jail, Show me the prisoner whose life has gone stale. And I'll show you a young man with so many reasons why And there, but for fortune, go you or I.

Phil Ochs
Total votes: 14

We are prisoners of ideas.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Total votes: 30

He who opens a school door, closes a prison.

Victor Hugo
Total votes: 23