Top

A collection of quotes by Jack Henry Abbott on prison, writing, self-control, violence, time, state, mind, blood, guards, guilty, justice and prisoners.

22 Notable Quotes By Jack Henry Abbott For You To Remember

Quick Facts

Listed In

Born On

Died On

Died At Age

Jack Henry Abbott was a notorious American criminal and writer. Although he had a dark background but people respect him for his writing skills. He was born in a disturbed family and was abandoned at an early age of four and faced various oppressions as a child. This turned him towards robbery at the age of 12. He was in and out of juvenile centers, which could hardly rehabilitate him. He always possessed a criminal mind and this led him to the jail made for adults. In the prison, he was very aggressive initially and had to be in the dungeons for 23 days. After he came out he started visiting the library and developed interest towards literature. During this period he started talking to the famous writer Norman Mailer. Mailer was convinced to support him in publishing his first book titled ‘In the Belly Of the Beast’. The book is considered to be one of the best prison literatures. This book was a huge success and brought him instant fame and popularity. We have gathered a few famous quotes and sayings by the infamous man who was lauded by high-profile literary critics for his prolific writing skills. Go through the thoughts and quotes by Jack Henry Abbott that will help you know him better.

One morning I woke up and was plunged into psychological shock. I had forgotten I was free.

- Jack Henry Abbott

As long as I am nothing but a ghost of the civil dead, I can do nothing.

- Jack Henry Abbott

I escaped one time. In 1971 I was in the free world for six weeks.

- Jack Henry Abbott

I find it painful and angering to look in a mirror.

- Jack Henry Abbott

When they talk of ghosts of the dead who wander in the night with things still undone in life, they approximate my subjective experience of this life.

- Jack Henry Abbott

Paranoia is an illness I contracted in institutions. It is not the reason for my sentences to reform school and prison. It is the effect, not the cause.

- Jack Henry Abbott

The only time they appear human is when you have a knife at their throats. The instant you remove it, they fall back into animality. Obscenity.

- In the Belly of the Beast: Letters From Prison, Jack Henry Abbott

Imagine a thousand more such daily intrusions in your life, every hour and minute of every day, and you can grasp the source of this paranoia, this anger that could consume me at any moment if I lost control.

- Jack Henry Abbott

Because there is something helpless and weak and innocent - something like an infant - deep inside us all that really suffers in ways we would never permit an insect to suffer.

- Jack Henry Abbott

Everyone in prison has an ideal of violence, murder. Beneath all relationships between prisoners is the ever-present fact of murder. It ultimately defines our relationship among ourselves.

- In the Belly of the Beast: Letters From Prison, Jack Henry Abbott

That is how prison is tearing me up inside. It hurts every day. Every day takes me further from my life.

- Jack Henry Abbott

I've wanted somehow to convey to you the sensations - the atmospheric pressure, you might say - of what it is to be seriously a long-term prisoner in an American prison.

- Jack Henry Abbott

The part of me which wanders through my mind and never sees or feels actual objects, but which lives in and moves through my passions and my emotions, experiences this world as a horrible nightmare.

- Jack Henry Abbott

I cannot be critical of an infant whose only possible source of nourishment can be found in the dugs of a wolf.

- In the Belly of the Beast: Letters From Prison, Jack Henry Abbott

To be in prison so long, it's difficult to remember exactly what you did to get there.

- Jack Henry Abbott

I have been desperate to escape for so many years now, it is routine for me to try to escape.

- Jack Henry Abbott

My eyes, my brain seek out escape routes wherever I am sent.

- Jack Henry Abbott

Nothing is over and done with. Nothing. Not even your malice.

- Jack Henry Abbott

When I'm forced by circumstances to be in a crowd of prisoners, it's all I can do to refrain from attack.

- Jack Henry Abbott

The other inmates stand in a long straight line, flanked by guards, and I am dragged past them. I do not respect them, because they will not run - will not try to escape.

- Jack Henry Abbott

There was never sufficient evidence presented at my trial to support a finding of intent to kill.

- Jack Henry Abbott

To illustrate: to walk ten miles in an enclosed space of ten feet is not really movement. There are not ten miles of space, only time.

- In the Belly of the Beast: Letters From Prison, Jack Henry Abbott