Prison Quotes

Quotes tagged as "prison" Showing 1-30 of 632
Alexandre Dumas
“How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With pleasure.”
Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Nelson Mandela
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
Nelson Mandela

Henry David Thoreau
“The preachers and lecturers deal with men of straw, as they are men of straw themselves. Why, a free-spoken man, of sound lungs, cannot draw a long breath without causing your rotten institutions to come toppling down by the vacuum he makes. Your church is a baby-house made of blocks, and so of the state.

...The church, the state, the school, the magazine, think they are liberal and free! It is the freedom of a prison-yard.”
Henry David Thoreau, I to Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau

Franz Kafka
“One of the first signs of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die. This life appears unbearable, another unattainable. One is no longer ashamed of wanting to die; one asks to be moved from the old cell, which one hates, to a new one, which one willl only in time come to hate. In this there is also a residue of belief that during the move the master will chance to come along the corridor, look at the prisoner and say: "This man is not to be locked up again, He is to come with me.”
Franz Kafka, Blue Octavo Notebooks

Brandon Sanderson
“Kaladin frowned. “Wait. Are you wearing cologne? In prison?”
“Well, there was no need to be barbaric, just because I was incarcerated.”
“Storms, you’re spoiled,” Kaladin said, smiling.
“I’m refined, you insolent farmer,” Adolin said. Then he grinned. “Besides, I’ll have you know that I had to use cold water for my baths while here.”
“Poor boy.”
Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance

“The genius of the current caste system, and what most distinguishes it from its predecessors, is that it appears voluntary. People choose to commit crimes, and that's why they are locked up or locked out, we are told. This feature makes the politics of responsibility particularly tempting, as it appears the system can be avoided with good behavior. But herein lies the trap. All people make mistakes. All of us are sinners. All of us are criminals. All of us violate the law at some point in our lives. In fact, if the worst thing you have ever done is speed ten miles over the speed limit on the freeway, you have put yourself and others at more risk of harm than someone smoking marijuana in the privacy of his or her living room. Yet there are people in the United States serving life sentences for first-time drug offenses, something virtually unheard of anywhere else in the world.”
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Howard Zinn
“I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions--poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed--which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished.

It must surely be a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit that even a small number of those men and women in the hell of the prison system survive it and hold on to their humanity.”
Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

Robyn Schneider
“To Cassidy, the panopticon wasn't a metaphor. It was the greatest failing on everything she was, a prison she had built for herself out of an inability to appear anything less than perfect. And so she ghosted on, in relentless pursuit of escape, not from society, but from herself. She would always be confined by what everyone expected of her because she was too afraid and too unwilling to correct our imperfect imaginings.”
Robyn Schneider, The Beginning of Everything

Scott Westerfeld
“I'd watched too many schoolmates graduate into mental institutions, into group homes and jails, and I knew that locking people up was paranormal - against normal, not beside it. Locks didn't cure; they strangled.”
Scott Westerfeld, The Last Days

Oscar Wilde
“The things people say of a man do not alter a man. He is what he is. Public opinion is of no value whatsoever. Even if people employ actual violence, they are not to be violent in turn. That would be to fall to the same low level. After all, even in prison, a man can be quite free. His soul can be free. His personality can be untroubled. He can be at peace. And, above all things, they are not to interfere with other people or judge them in any way. Personality is a very mysterious thing. A man cannot always be estimated by what he does. He may keep the law, and yet be worthless. He may break the law, and yet be fine. He may be bad, without ever doing anything bad. He may commit a sin against society, and yet realize through that sin his true perfection.”
Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism

Thomas  Harris
“God's creatures who cried themselves to sleep stirred to cry again.”
Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs

Stephen King
“oh shit it's shit”
Stephen King, Different Seasons

Karl Kraus
“The world is a prison in which solitary confinement is preferable.”
Karl Kraus

Richard Lovelace
“Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.”
Richard Lovelace, To Althea, from Prison

Daniil Kharms
“I was most happy when pen and paper were taken from me and I was forbidden from doing anything. I had no anxiety about doing nothing by my own fault, my conscience was clear, and I was happy. This was when I was in prison.”
Daniil Kharms, Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings

Piper Kerman
“We have a racially based justice system that overpunishes, fails to rehabilitate, and doesn't make us safer.”
Piper Kerman, Orange Is the New Black

John Lubbock
“The whole value of solitude depends upon oneself; it may be a sanctuary or a prison, a haven of repose or a place of punishment, a heaven or a hell, as we ourselves make it.”
John Lubbock, Peace and Happiness

Laini Taylor
“It was cruel. Like opening a birdcage to let the bird fly out, whilst all the while it's tethered by the leg, and freedom is only an illusion.”
Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer

“Her body was a prison, her mind was a prison. Her memories were a prison. The people she loved. She couldn't get away from the hurt of them. She could leave Eric, walk out of her apartment, walk forever if she liked, but she couldn't escape what really hurt. Tonight even the sky felt like a prison.”
Ann Brashares, Sisterhood Everlasting

“I had no real communication with anyone at the time, so I was totally dependent on God. And he never failed me.”
Diet Eman, Things We Couldn't Say

Neil Gaiman
“The best thing—in Shadow's opinion, perhaps the only good thing—about being in prison was a feeling of relief. The feeling that he'd plunged as low as he could plunge and he'd hit bottom. He didn't worry that the man was going to get him, because the man had got him. He was no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, because yesterday had brought it.”
Neil Gaiman, American Gods

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“...you are strong only as long as you don't deprive people of everything. For a person you've taken everything from is no longer in your power. He's free all over again.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

Alex E. Jones
“The drug war is a total scam, prescription drugs kill 300K a year, while marijuana kills no one, but they spend billions/year 'fighting' it, because pot heads make for good little slaves to put into private prisons, owned by the banks who launder the drug money, and it's ALL DOCUMENTED.”
Alex E. Jones

Norman Mailer
“We are all so guilty at the way we have allowed the world around us to become more ugly and tasteless every year that we surrender to terror and steep ourselves in it.”
Norman Mailer, In the Belly of the Beast: Letters From Prison

Raegan Butcher
“Prison is like high school with knives.”
Raegan Butcher

Fyodor Dostoevsky
“Often a man endures for several years, submits and suffers the cruellest punishments, and then suddenly breaks out over some minute trifle, almost nothing at all.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The House of the Dead

Luis Carlos Montalván
“The dogs brought it all back to, you know, to the human side.”
Luis Carlos Montalván, Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

J.K. Rowling
“They don’t need walls and water to keep the prisoners in, not when they’re trapped inside their own heads, incapable of a single cheerful thought. Most go mad within weeks.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Thomas Jefferson
“It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.”
Thomas Jefferson

Raegan Butcher
“anyone who has no feelings for animals has a dead heart.”
Raegan Butcher, Rusty String Quartet

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