Prison Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 811 quotes )
There is, on the whole, nothing on earth intended for innocent people so horrible as a school. To begin with, it is a prison. But in some respects more cruel than a prison. In a prison, for instance, you are not forced to read books written by the warders and the governor. . . .In the prison you are not forced to sit listening to turnkeys discoursing without charm or interest on subjects that they don't understand and don't care about, and therefore incapable of making you understand or care about. In a prison they may torture your body; but they do not torture your brains.
The prison population consists of heterogeneous elements; but, taking only those who are usually described as 'the criminals' proper, and of whom we have heard so much lately from Lombroso and his followers, what struck me most as regards them was that the prisons, which are considered as preventive of anti-social deeds, are exactly the institutions for breeding them. Every one knows that absence of education, dislike of regular work, physical incapability of sustained effort, misdirected love of adventure, gambling propensities, absence of energy, an untrained will, and carelessness about the happiness of others are the causes which bring this class of people before the courts. Now I was deeply impressed during my imprisonment by the fact that it is exactly these defects of human nature--each one of them--which the prison breeds in its inmates; and it is bound to breed them because it is a prison, and will breed them so long as it exists.
Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it. In using Escape in this way the critics have chosen the wrong word, and, what is more, they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter. just so a Party-spokesman might have labeled departure from the misery of the Fuhrer's or any other Reich and even criticism of it as treachery .... Not only do they confound the escape of the prisoner with the flight of the deserter; but they would seem to prefer the acquiescence of the "quisling" to the resistance of the patriot.
I once saw a convict who had been twenty years in prison and was being released take leave of his fellow prisoners. There were men who remembered his first coming into prison, when he was young, careless, heedless of his crime and his punishment. He went out a grey-headed, elderly man, with a sad sullen face. He walked in silence through our six barrack-rooms. As he entered each room he prayed to the ikons, and then bowing low to his fellow prisoners he asked them not to remember evil against him.
From solitude in the womb, we emerge into solitude among our Fellows, and return again to solitude within the Grave. We pass our lives in the attempt to mitigate that solitude. But Propinquity is never fusion. The most populous City is but an agglomeration of wildernesses. We exchange Words, but exchange them from prison to prison, and without hope that they will signify to others what they mean to ourselves. We marry, and there are two solitudes in the house instead of one, We beget children, and there are many solitudes. We reiterate the act of love; but again propinquity is never fusion. The most intimate contact is inly of Surfaces and we couple, as I have seen the condemned Prisoners at Newgate coupling with their trulls, between the bars of our cages. Pleasure cannot be shared; like pain, it can only be experienced or inflicted, and when we give pleasures to our lovers or Bestow charity upon the Needy, we do so, not to gratify the object of our Benevolence, but only ourselves. For the truth is that we are kind for the same reason the reason as we are cruel, in order that we may enhance the sense of our own power; and this we are for ever trying to do, despite the fact that by doing it we cause ourselves to feel more solitary then ever. The reality of solitude is the same in all men, there being no mitigation of it, except in Forgetfulness, Stupidity, or Illusion; but a mans sense of Solitude is proportionate to the sense and fact of his power. In any set of circumstances, the more Power we have, the more intensely do we feel our solitude. I have enjoyed much power in my life.- The Fifth Earl, in Aldous Huxle?s After Many A Summer Dies The Swan
I'm an educated man: the prisons I know are subtle ones. And of course poetry and prison have always been neighbors. And yet it's melancholia that's the source of my attraction. Am I in the seventh dream or have I truly heard the cocks crow at the other end of the feria? It might be one thing or it might be another. But cocks crow at dawn, and it's noon now, according to my watch. I wander through the feria and greet my colleagues who are wandering as dreamily as I am. Dreamily dreamily = a prison in literary heaven. Wandering.
The prisons in the United States had long been an extreme reflection of the American system itself: the stark life differences between rich and poor, the racism, the use of victims against one another, the lack of resources of the underclass to speak out, the endless "reforms" that changed little. Dostoevski once said: "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons."It had long been true, and prisoners knew this better than anyone, that the poorer you were the more likely you were to end up in jail. This was not just because the poor committed more crimes. In fact, they did. The rich did not have to commit crimes to get what they wanted; the laws were on their side. But when the rich did commit crimes, they often were not prosecuted, and if they were they could get out on bail, hire clever lawyers, get better treatment from judges. Somehow, the jails ended up full of poor black people.
Generally speaking, our prisoners were capable of loving animals, and if they had been allowed they would have delighted to rear large numbers of domestic animals and birds in the prison. And I wonder what other activity could better have softened and refined their harsh and brutal natures than this. But it was not allowed. Neither the regulations nor the nature of the prison made it possible.
No one wanted the job. What had seemed one of the least challenging tasks facing Franklin D. Roosevelt as newly elected president had, by June 1933, become one of the most intransigent. As ambas-sadorial posts went, Berlin should have been a plu?not London or Paris, surely, but still one of the great capitals of Europe, and at the center of a country going through revolutionary change under the leadership of its newly appointed chancellor, Adolf Hitler. Depending on on?s point of view, Germany was experiencing a great revival or a savage darkening. Upon Hitle?s ascent, the country had undergone a brutal spasm of state- condoned violence. Hitle?s brown- shirted paramilitary army, the Sturmabteilung, or S?the Storm Trooper?had gone wild, arresting, beating, and in some cases murdering communists, socialists, and Jews. Storm Troopers established impromptu prisons and torture stations in basements, sheds, and other structures. Berlin alone had fi fty of these so- called bunkers. Tens of thousands of people were arrested and placed in?protective custod? Schutzhaf?a risible euphemism. An esti-mated fi ve hundred to seven hundred prisoners died in custody; others endured?mock drownings and hangings? according to a police affi davit. One prison near Tempelhof Airport became especially no-torious: Columbia House, not to be confused with a sleekly modern new building at the heart of Berlin called Columbus House. The up-heaval prompted one Jewish leader, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of New York, to tell a friend,?the frontiers of civilization have been crossed.