Great quotations about crime and prisons embellish our history and our culture. Here are a few:

  • The law is like a serpent. It bites the feet which have no shoes on. Bishop Oscar Romero, who was murdered in El Salvador in 1980.
  • While there is a lower class I am in it, while there is a criminal element I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free. Eugene V[ictor] Debs 1855-1926
  • The level of civilization in a society can be measured by entering its prisons. Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clerel de Tocqueville.
  • Poverty is the mother of crime Marcus Aurelius 121-180
  • All crime is a kind of disease and should be treated as such.  Mahatma Gandhi
  • Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. Friedrich Nietzsche 1844-1900
  • A quote from Oscar Wilde 1854-1900
  •                        The vilest deeds like poison weeds
  •                        Bloom well in prison air:
  •                         It is only what is good in man
  •                        That wastes and withers there
  • There should be no jails.  They do not accomplish what they pretend to accomplish.  If you would wipe them out there would be no more criminals than now.  They are a blot upon any civilization.  Clarence Darrow, 1857-1938
  • I was in prison, and ye came unto me. The Gospel According to St. Matthew 25:36

Which is your favorite quote? Why?

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FYI, here is an excellent webpage about racism in criminal justice in the USA. http://blog.arrestrecords.com/infographic-racism-in-the-criminal-justice-system/  Problems exist in Canada as well with the percentage of first nation peoples in Canadian prisons. However, I’m not aware of a well-documented chart such as this one for the USA.

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Comments
  1. jcommittedk says:

    I am having trouble deciding between two of them; although in truth all speak to me in some way.

    I like Bishop Romero’s because in my head it can be expanded to refer to all sorts of poverty–financial, physical, emotional, relational, etc. The law successfully goes after those who do not find a place in our society the way it is currently structured. Who bears responsibility for this? Is it the people who do not fit or is it the people who designed and maintain our society the way it is?

    I also like Oscar Wilde’s quote, as it outlines what has been obvious to criminologists for centuries–prisons only make people worse.

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