Prison Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old prison quotes, prison sayings, and prison proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


In prison you've got all kinds of people. People beating up people for their commissary, people beating up people for their tennis shoes. You've got people sodomizing people, you know, just rambunctious.     

Julius Lockett

Prison is a second by second assault on the soul, a day to day degradation of the self, an oppressive steel and brick umbrella that transforms seconds into hours and hours into days.     

Mumia Abu-Jamal

The primary obligation of any prisoner is to escape. Whether that means actually leaving or simply figuring out a way to handle things so you don't go crazy is up to you.     

Emmanuel Goldstein

Most prisons have wide gates!     

Katherine Cecil Thurston

Prison experience puts distance between me and any person who hasn't been there, done that.     

Patricia McConnell

The prison life of the past looks in our own time like liberation itself.     

Christopher Lasch

In prison, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all.     

Eldridge Cleaver

Prison is a socialist paradise where equality prevails, everything is supplied, and competition is eliminated.     

Elbert Hubbard

Depression is a prison to which you have the key except you never think to look for it.     

Kevin Hearne

Being in prison for seven years was like being in an army that never drilled, never deployed, and only fought itself.     

Raegan Butcher

Prison is, simply put, the bottom rung of the welfare ladder.     

Stephen Reid

Prison is the only form of public housing that the government has truly invested in over the past 5 decades.     

Marc Lamont Hill

Prison always has been a good place for writers, killing, as it does, the twin demons of mobility and diversion.     

Dan Simmons

A prison is a cross section of society in which every human strain is clearly revealed.     

Eugene V Debs

Prisons of stone and iron may hold the body for long and painful years in darkness, but they cannot shut out the light of truth from the truth loving soul; they cannot destroy the peace of the dutiful spirit.     

Hubbard Winslow

Your mind is your prison when you focus on your fear.     

Tim Fargo

Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul.     

Henry Van Dyke

Prison is a recruitment center for the army of crime. That is what it achieves.     

Michel Foucault

Cold walls do not a prison make, nor iron bands a bondsman.     

Scott Lynch

Prison has taught me that there is a part of you that no one can ever take from you, and that is your heart.     

Babar Ahmad

Prison is an expensive way of making bad people worse.     

Douglas Hurd

Prison itself is a tremendous education in the need for patience and perseverance. It is above all a test of one's commitment.     

Nelson Mandela

Prison is like high school with knives.     

Raegan Butcher

In prison, ones worst enemies will always be the brothers of ones own race.     

John Greschner

Our prisons and our jails are now our mental health institutions.     

Hillary Clinton

How come life in prison doesn't mean life? Until it does, we're not ready to do away with the death penalty. Stop thinking in terms of punishment for a minute and think in terms of safeguarding innocent people from incorrigible murderers.     

Jesse Ventura

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

The prisoner is not the one who has commited a crime, but the one who clings to his crime and lives it over and over.     

Henry Miller

Prisons are hate factories, Pastor, and society wants more and more of them.     

John Grisham

Prison make you a better judge of character. You pick up on people much faster.     

Suge Knight