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These prisons are being built for us.
Excuse me while I smash your state.
To assert in any case that a man must be absolutely cut off from society because he is absolutely evil amounts to saying that society is absolutely good, and no one in his right mind will believe this today.
Albert Camus (1913-60)
We have found that morals are not, like bacon, to be cured by hanging; nor, like wine, to be improved by sea voyages; nor, like honey, to be preserved in cells.
William Cooke Taylor (1800-1849)
Any punishment that does not correct, that can merely rouse rebellion in whoever has to endure it, is a piece of gratuitous infamy which makes those who impose it more guilty in the eyes of humanity, good sense and reason, nay a hundred times more guilty than the victim on whom the punishment is inflicted.
Marquis de Sade (1740-1814)
I'm tired of hearing that the system is broken and needs to be fixed. It ain't broken. It's the slave labor and killing machine that it is by design. Stop Judicial Brutality!
We are all conceived in close prison; in our mothers' wombs, we are close prisoners all; when we are born, we are born but to the liberty of the house; prisoners still, though within larger walls; and then all our life is but a going out to the place of execution, to death.
John Donne (c. 1572-1631)
Prison continues, on those who are entrusted to it, a work begun elsewhere, which the whole of society pursues on each individual through innumerable mechanisms of discipline.
Michel Foucault (1926-84)
Prisoners of the world, wake up!
Gulf Coast Red
The Greek law giver, Solon, declared that in the ideal State laws are few and simple, because they have been derived from certainties. In the corrupt State, laws are many and confused because they have been derived from uncertainties. These corrupt laws are like the web of a spider which catches small insects but permits the stronger creatures to break through and escape.
Where there are many laws there is much lawlessness, and men come to despise and ridicule the restraints that are imposed upon freedom of action. Corrupt laws, resulting from efforts to amend inadequate legislation by further inadequate legislation, reveal a general ignorance of right and wrong. Where such ignorance exists the ideal function of democracy is impossible, and liberty degenerates into license.
M.P. Hall, The Secret Destiny of America
He that is taken and put into prison or chains is not conquered, though overcome; for he is still an enemy.
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists? 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 1859-1936
Let us have compassion for those under chastisement. Alas, who are we ourselves? Who am I and who are you? Whence do we come and is it quite certain that we did nothing before we were born? This earth is not without some resemblance to a goal. Who knows but that man is a victim of divine justice? Look closely at life. It is so constituted that one senses punishment everywhere.
Victor Hugo (1802-85)
Such is the remorseless progression of human society, shedding lives and souls as it goes on its way. It is an ocean into which men sink who have been cast out by the law and consigned, with help most cruelly withheld, to moral death. The sea is the pitiless social darkness into which the penal system casts those it has condemned, an unfathomable waste of misery. The human soul, lost in those depths, may become a corpse. Who shall revive it?
Victor Hugo (1802-85)
There is no religion in which everyday life is not considered a prison; there is no philosophy or ideology that does not think that we live in alienation.
Eugène Ionesco (1912-94)
A frightening, petrifying diffusion of violence and intimidation is emitted from the offices of the Warden and Captain. How else could a small group of armed men be expected to hold and rule another much larger group except through fear?
George L. Jackson-Soledad Brother
Further, it is a fact that when you hire an Attorney, to "represent you", you are presumed, by the court, to be incapable of defending yourself, that is you are silently declared legally incompetent, a ward of the court, and placed in a secret trust, called a cestui que trust, as a legal lunatic, a mental case, therefore you canít talk, you canít do anything. If you try, the Judge will tell you to sit down and shut up. If you donít you go to jail for contempt.
Our system is the height of absurdity, since we treat the culprit both as a child, so as to have the right to punish him, and as an adult, in order to deny him consolation.
Claude Lévi-Strauss (b. 1908)
Stone walls do not a prison make
Nor iron bars a cage
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage.
Richard Lovelace (1618-58)
The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenthsimaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty --- and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.
The prisoner is not the one who has committed a crime, but the one who clings to his crime and lives it over and over.
Henry Miller (1891-1980)
All in all, punishment hardens and renders people more insensible; it concentrates; it increases the feeling of estrangement; it strengthens the power of resistance.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity.
St. John the Divine; The Bible, Revelation 13:10
The thoughts of a prisoner -- they're not free either. They keep returning to the same things.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn 1918-
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-62)
Uncle Slam wants you.
It isn't true that convicts live like animals: animals have more room to move around.
Mario Vargas Llosa (b. 1936)
They call this place a camp. Fancy that. A camp with double razor fences, patrolling perimeter trucks, and 14 counts a day.
One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted; and a community is infinitely more brutalized by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
We who live in prison, and in whose lives there is no event but sorrow, have to measure time by throbs of pain, and the record of bitter moments.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
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