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Prison Quotes

I have never been contained except I made the prison.

Mary Evans
Total votes: 13

The worst of prison life, he thought, was not being able to close his door.

Stendhal (pseudonym Henri Beyle)
Total votes: 10

I know not whether laws be right, or whether laws be wrong; All that we know who lie in gaol is that the wall is strong; And that each day is like a year, a year whose days are long.

Oscar Wilde
Total votes: 21

Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.

Friedrich Nietzsche
Total votes: 19

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

Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenal)
Total votes: 17

No matter how you seem to fatten on a crime, that can never be good for the bee which is bad for the hive.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Total votes: 12

Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrist? And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists? And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air? Oh they're taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.

A. E. Housman
Total votes: 17

Organized crime in America takes in over forty billion dollars a year. This is quite a profitable sum, especially when one considers that the Mafia spends very little for office supplies.

Woody Allen
Total votes: 8

Intellectual despair results in neither weakness nor dreams, but in violence. It is only a matter of knowing how to give vent to one's rage; whether one only wants to wander like madmen around prisons, or whether one wants to overturn them.

Georges Bataille
Total votes: 15

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: 12

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: 20

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

Seneca
Total votes: 9

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

John Locke
Total votes: 6

Forgiveness, that noblest of all self-denial, is a virtue which he alone who can practise in himself can willingly believe in another.

Charles Caleb Colton
Total votes: 12

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: 10

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

Samuel Johnson
Total votes: 10

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

Sir Henry Wotton
Total votes: 14

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: 8

Laws do not persuade just because they threaten.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Total votes: 10


Karl Menninger
Total votes: 10

There's no greater threat to our independence, to our cherished freedoms and personal liberties than the continual, relentless injection of these insidious poisons into our system. We must decide whether we cherish independence from drugs, without which there is no freedom.

William Von Raab
Total votes: 13

Overlook our deeds, since you know that crime was absent from our inclination.

Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso)
Total votes: 20

Extreme justice is extreme injustice.

Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero)
Total votes: 16

I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Total votes: 10


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: 12