QUOTES about PRISON

The mind is the most potent self-defense weapon a prisoner has at his disposal. If a prisoner begins to believe the myths, the lies that he is fed daily by the attitudes and actions of those around him, then he surrenders his very soul to the institution that is trying its level best to kill him, perhaps not in the physical sense, but in the very real effort to take his identity. Source: Letters from Prison by Shawn Thompson

What other dungeon is so dark as one’s own heart. What jailer so inexorable as one’s self. Nathaniel Hawthorne

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrew 13.3

A dungeon horrible, on all sides round,
As one great furnace flamed, yet from those flames,
No light, but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe.
Source: Milton, Paradise Lost

One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is that things are what they are and will be what they will be. Oscar Wilde 

In some countries, it is a widespread means of torture to constantly subject prisoners to artificial light. ... It is the perfect torture, more effective than physical violence. It destroys biorhythms and sleep patterns to an extent that the body reacts as if paralyzed by deep exhaustion, and the brain cannot function correctly after just a few days. Just as cruel and effective is the torture of bombarding someone with an inescapable noise.  Source: 3,096 Days by Natascha Kampusch

When I was in prison, I was in a better place. Joseph Swain

The worst part of being in prison is boredom and its a killer. Jeffrey Archer

Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. Rousseau

A healthy body is a guest chamber for the soul; a sick body is a prison. Francis Bacon

In the final choice a soldier’s pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains. Eisenhower

The vilest deeds like poison weeds bloom well in prison air. It is only what is good in man that wastes and withers there. Pale anguish keeps the heavy gate and the warder in despair. Oscar Wilde

I escaped from prison, then I handed myself-back-in, in order to live a better life. The lost Fugitive.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Bible

Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage. Lovelace 

Whether you are said to be held in custody, imprisoned, or incarcerated depends upon the political nuance required to satisfy the propaganda. Conrad …

All spirits are enslaved which serve things evil. Shelley

A human being is a part of a whole, called by us “universe” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Einstein

The jury, passing on the prisoner's life, may, in the sworn twelve, have a thief or two guiltier than him they try. Shakespeare

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. Shakespeare

When a prisoner sees the door of his dungeon open, he dashes for it without stopping to think where he shall get his dinner outside. George Bernard Shaw

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau

On Death row, you might know people for 5, 10, 15 years, so you become like a little family. You even get to know some of the guys’ families. In the general population, everybody that can betray you eventually will: do unto others before they do unto you. Source: No Choirboy by Susan Kuklin

Opiate; an unlocked door in the prison of identity. It leads into the jail yard. Ambrose Bierce

Jail doesn't teach anyone to do good, nor Siberia, but a man, yes! A man can teach another man to do good; believe me! Maxim Gorky

Prison is often born of inner strife. Roaming free, the inmate perceives life infringed upon by drab realities; misery subsides, ceases once he sees realities as hopes not enemies. Michael Selby 

The world like our heads was meant to be escaped from, they are prisons world and head alike. Michael Chabon

In 1842, Charles Dickens wrote regarding the practice of solitary confinement: I believe that very few men are capable of estimating the immense amount of torture and agony which this dreadful punishment, prolonged for years, inflicts on the sufferers. ... From what I have seen written upon their faces, and what to my certain knowledge they feel within, I am only the more convinced that there is a depth of human endurance which only the sufferers themselves can fathom, and which no man has a right to inflict upon his fellow-creature.  Quote source: American Notes for General Circulation by Charles Dickens

Familiarize yourself with the chains of bondage and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Abraham Lincoln

Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father’s heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? Thomas Wolfe 

Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them. Thoreau

Describing the captivity of children of both genders trapped into prostitution, one such victim writes of their imprisonment in a basement:  “There was lots of scrawling on the walls. The other kids drew stick figures, daisies, teddy bears. One Mexican boy would draw a house with sunshine. … We each had a mat. But nothing happens to you in the basement. You just had to worry about when the door opened.” Quoted cited in: The Best American Crime Writing 2005 edited by Thomas H. Cook

A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him. Winston Churchill

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

Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer. Oscar Wilde

The prison officers were sadistic.  They were determined to make our lives hell, and seemed to enjoy hurting us. …Sometimes work duties were turned into punishments.  Corridors had to be swept with a small hand-brush.  If a spot of dirt was found, or an officer walked by and left boot marks, we had to do the whole corridor again.  If we complained, they made us clean the toilets or sweep outside. I remember one lad being forced to cut the grass with a pair of scissors, and others were made to dig deep holes and then fill them in again with the same mud.  One lad had to do that every day for a week. Source:  One Step Beyond by Gram Seed

Being in a ship is like being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned. Samuel Johnson

Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them. Thoreau

Convict, dwell in your lonely place, where you may learn to read your soul and speak your wisdom. LA Fontaine 

A prisoner serving a life sentence recounts: “I always had to learn the hard way, on anything. I got a problem with discipline; I have a temper-I couldn't take advice from anyone. … I figured that even though people fail when they do things their own way, not the regular way, I'm going to be the one to succeed. I learned it doesn't work that way, not at all.”  Quote from: No Choirboy by Susan Kuklin

Prison is like a beehive; we all enter by one door, but live in different cells. Proverb

Whenever anyone is against his will, that is to him a prison. Epictetus

Anecdote: A house that is rooted to one spot but can travel as quickly as you change your mind and is complete in itself is surely the most desirable of houses. Our modern house with its cumbersome walls and its foundations planted deep in the ground is nothing better than a prison and more and more prison like does it become the longer we live there, and wear fetters of a association and sentiment. Virginia Woolf

Incarceration and the denial of simple things turn men into kittens with vicious claws for whom anything dangled on a string becomes everything. Vincent Lindner

Two sisters, accused of involvement in Ira bombings, were the first hunger strikers on English soil who approached death, before being force-fed for 200 days. They recounted to their barrister: “Four male prison officers tie you into the chair so tightly with sheets, you can’t struggle. You clench your teeth to try to keep your mouth closed, but they place a metal spring device around your jaw to prize it open. They force a wooden clamp with a hole in the middle into your mouth. Then they insert a big rubber tube down that. You can’t move. They throw whatever they like into the food mixture: orange juice, soup, or cartons of cream if they want to beef up the calories. They take jugs of this gruel from the food mixer and pour it down a funnel attached to the tube. The force-feeding takes 15 minutes, but it feels like forever. You're in control of nothing. You're terrified the food will go down the wrong way, and you won't be able to let them know because you can't speak or move; you're frightened you'll choke to death.” Quote cited from: Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer by Michael Mansfield

I beseech you all to think about these women, to encourage the American people to ask for reforms, both in sentencing guidelines, length of incarceration for nonviolent first-time offenders, and for those involved in drug-taking. They would be much better served in a true rehabilitation center than in prison where there is no rehabilitation help, no real help, no real help to be prepared for life out there, where each person will ultimately find herself, many with no skills and no preparation for living. Quote attribution: Martha Stewart

If there were only some way for people to understand that there is an entire nation of families locked away, many for one mistake, and they think it can never happen to them or one of their own. Quote by Elizabeth Cronin: Woman Behind bars by Silja Talvi. 


A Prison of My Own by Diane Nichols:
The author of this often wrenching memoir tells of her reconciliation with her husband John after his imprisonment for murder: John is doing well, and continues to call and write us on a regular basis. … He is also active in a program called Nexus which involves the prison inmates sharing personal testimonies with troubled kids who come into the facility for a talk. … John often told me that one of the hardest things about being behind bars is that it doesn’t give offenders a chance to own up to what they have done or give or to give back anything positive to society.  In this program, however, he takes pride in knowing he can help other young men to find the right path. 

DEFINITION and MEANING
Prison, in its literal sense, means the confinement of someone due to that person’s having broken one or more of the laws set forth for the protection of society as a whole. Still, the sense of being imprisoned can encompass any number of situations in which one has lost control of both freedom and future hopes.

This can occur in a marriage where one party deploys financial and/or emotional blackmail, or a job context where an employer refuses to write a well-deserved letter of reference. In short, where one’s liberty is curtailed, this can be recognized as a form of imprisonment.

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