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Prison Quotes

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.

Aleksander Solzhenitsyn
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: 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: 51

The uneven impact of actual enforcement measures tends to mirror and reinforce more general patterns of discrimination (along socioeconomic, racial and ethnic, sexual, and perhaps generational lines) within the society. As a consequence, such enforcement (ineffective as it may be in producing conformity) almost certainly reinforces feelings of alienation already prevalent within major segments of the population.

Edwin M. Schur
Total votes: 28

Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.

Edmund Burke
Total votes: 20

I never told a victim story about my imprisonment. Instead, I told a transformation story - about how prison changed my outlook, about how I saw that communication, truth, and trust are at the heart of power.

Fernando Flores
Total votes: 41

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.

William Shakespeare
Total votes: 54

I have been studying how I may compare This prison where I live unto the world; And, for because the world is populous, And here is not a creature but myself, I cannot do it. Yet I'll hammer it out.

William Shakespeare
Total votes: 58

I don't like being famous - it is like a prison. And driving for Ferrari would make it far worse.

Valentino Rossi
Total votes: 51

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

Philip Emeagwali
Total votes: 32

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: 62

No man survives when freedom fails. The best men rot in filthy jails, and those who cry 'appease, appease' are hanged by those they tried to please.

Hiram Mann
Total votes: 33

If punishment reaches not the mind and makes not the will supple, it hardens the offender.

John Locke
Total votes: 25


When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.

Mike Tyson
Total votes: 40

Well, I don't think prisons are the answer to everything, obviously.

Judge Mills Lane
Total votes: 35

Justice is justice though it's always delayed and finally done only by mistake.

George Bernard Shaw
Total votes: 40

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: 27

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: 28

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

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

Oliver Goldsmith
Total votes: 35

When you are younger you get blamed for crimes you never committed and when you're older you begin to get credit for virtues you never possessed. It evens itself out.

George Santayana
Total votes: 36

Whatever you think of de Sade, he was a complex figure and we should not look for easy answers with him. He was, strangely perhaps, against the death penalty, and he was never put in prison for murders or anything like that.

Philip Kaufman
Total votes: 41

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: 31

Every instance of a man's suffering the penalty of the law is an instance of the failure of that penalty in effecting its purpose, which is to deter.

Archbishop Richard Whately
Total votes: 57