Top 100

Top 250 Bryan Stevenson Quotes (2023 Update)
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Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Many states can no longer afford to support public education, public benefits, public services without doing something about the exorbitant costs that mass incarceration have created.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “We live in a country that talks about being the home of the brave and the land of the free, and we have the highest incarceration rate in the world.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “One of the country’s least-discussed postwar problems is how frequently combat veterans bring the traumas of war back with them and are incarcerated after returning to their communities. By the mid-1980s, nearly 20 percent of the people in jails and prisons in the United States had served in the military. While the rate declined in the 1990s as the shadows cast by the Vietnam War began to recede, it has picked up again as a result of the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “But today, our self-righteousness, our fear, and our anger have caused even the Christians to hurl stones at the people who fall down, even when we know we should forgive or show compassion. I told the congregation that we simply can’t watch that happen. I told them we have to be stonecatchers.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “By 2010, Florida had sentenced more than a hundred children to life imprisonment without parole for non-homicide offenses, several of whom were thirteen years old at the time of the crime.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.” I.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “You can be a career professional as a judge, a prosecutor, sometimes as a defense attorney, and never insist on fairness and justice. That’s tragic and that’s what we have to change.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “In the United States, the number of women sent to prison increased 646 percent between 1980 and 2010, a rate of increase 1.5 times higher than the rate for men. With close to two hundred thousand women in jails and prisons in America and over a million women under the supervision or control of the criminal justice system, the incarceration of women has reached record levels.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “The Court had repeatedly made clear, though, that the Constitution does not require that racial minorities and women actually serve on juries – it only forbids excluding jurors on the basis of race or gender. For many African Americans, the use of wholly discretionary peremptory strikes to select a jury of twelve remained a serious barrier to serving on a jury.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Finally, I’ve come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned. We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Florida had the largest population in the world of children condemned to die in prison for non-homicides.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “There are hundreds of ways we accommodate physical disabilities – or at least understand them. We get angry when people fail to recognize the need for thoughtful and compassionate assistance when it comes to the physically disabled, but because mental disabilities aren’t visible in the same way, we tend to be dismissive of the needs of the disabled and quick to judge their deficits and failures.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “The culture of sexual violence was so pervasive that even the prison chaplain was sexually assaulting women when they came to the chapel.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Beat the drum for justice.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “This book is about getting closer to mass incarceration and extreme punishment in America. It is about how easily we condemn people in this country and the injustice we create when we allow fear, anger, and distance to shape the way we treat the most vulnerable among us. It’s also about a dramatic period in our recent history, a period that indelibly marked the lives of millions of Americans – of all races, ages, and sexes – and the American psyche as a whole.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “It was a common tactic used by Southern politicians during civil rights protests: Sue national media outlets for defamation if they provide sympathetic coverage of activists or if they characterize Southern politicians and law enforcement officers unfavorably.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “My years of struggling against inequality, abusive power, poverty, oppression, and injustice had finally revealed something to me about myself. Being close to suffering, death, executions, and cruel punishments didn’t just illuminate the brokenness of others; in a moment of anguish and heartbreak, it also exposed my own brokenness. You can’t effectively fight abusive power, poverty, inequality, illness, oppression, or injustice and not be broken by it.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Even though the restriction couldn’t be enforced under federal law, the state ban on interracial marriage in Alabama continued into the twenty-first century. In 2000, reformers finally had enough votes to get the issue on the statewide ballot, where a majority of voters chose to eliminate the ban, although 41 percent voted to keep it.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Some folks in the office said I should explain in my complaint that I was a civil rights attorney working on police misconduct cases. It seemed to me that no one should need those kinds of credentials to complain about misconduct by police officers.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Because my great-grandparents were enslaved people, the legacy of slavery was something that didn’t seem impersonal or disconnected. That’s what motivated me to get into law.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “American prisons have become warehouses for the mentally ill. Mass incarceration has been largely ruled by misguided drug policy and excessive sentencing, but the internment of hundreds of thousands of poor and mentally ill people has been a driving force in achieving our record levels of imprisonment.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “I realized something sitting there while Jimmy Dill was being killed at Holman prison. After working for more than twenty-five years, I understood that I don’t do what I do because it’s required or necessary or important. I don’t do it because I have no choice. I do what I do because I’m broken, too.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “We have created a new caste system that forces thousands of people into homelessness, bans them from living with their families and in their communities, and renders them virtually unemployable. Some states permanently strip people with criminal convictions of the right to vote; as a result, in several Southern states disenfranchisement among African American men has reached levels unseen since before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Sometimes we’re fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we’re shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Bryan,” he said at some point during our short flight, “capital punishment means ’them without the capital get the punishment.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “I wasn’t prepared to meet a condemned man.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “This book is about getting closer to mass incarceration and extreme punishment in America. It is about how easily we condemn people in his country and the injustice we create when we allow fear, anger, and distance to shape the way we treat the most vulnerable among us.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “The real question of capital punishment in this country is: Do we deserve to kill?”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “The death penalty can be imposed fairly only after carefully considering all the reasons why death might not be the appropriate sentence.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “The racial terrorism of lynchings in many ways created the modern death penalty. America’s embrace of speedy executions was, in part, an attempt to redirect the violent energies of lynching while ensuring white southerners that Black men would still pay the ultimate price.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “One in every fifteen people born in the United States in 2001 is expected to go to jail or prison; one in every three black male babies born in this century is expected to be incarcerated. We.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “In most places, when people hear about or see something that is a symbol or representation or evidence of slavery or the slave trade or lynching, the instinct is to cover it up, to get rid of it, to destroy it.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Listen, I did something I probably wasn’t supposed to do, but I want you to know about it. On the trip back down here after court on that last day – well, I know how Avery is, you know. Well anyway, I just want you to know that I took an exit off the interstate on the way back. And, well, I took him to a Wendy’s, and I bought him a chocolate milkshake.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “When I stepped into this world, I saw that we were all burdened by a certain kind of indifference to the plight of poor people. We were burdened by an insensitivity to a legacy of racial bias. We were tolerating unfairness and unreliability in a way that burdened me and provoked me.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Montgomery’s unique role in the domestic slave trade was that it was the first community that had a rail line that connected the Deep South to the mid-Atlantic region.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Knowing what I know about the people who have come before me, and the people who came before them, and what they had to do, it changes my capacity to stay engaged, to stay productive.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “The Hippocratic oath prevents doctors and medical personnel from participating in executions, so Alabama officials planned for untrained correctional staff to take a knife and make a two-inch incision in Mr. Nelson’s arm or groin so that they could find a vein in which to inject him with toxins and kill him. We argued that without anesthesia, the procedure would be needlessly painful and cruel.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Part of the reason why we’re only now reaching a point in American society where we can talk about the need for truth and reconciliation and the legacy of slavery is that it was such a dominant part of our history.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “I say this thing about how I’ve never had to say my head is bloodied but not bowed, like everybody who came before me had to say. And that tells me that I can do a lot more than I think I can.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “I love museums, and I think they’re fantastic, but they don’t touch the people who I frequently think need to be touched with at least some reminder of legacy.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “Florida is one of a few states that allows the prosecutor to decide to charge a child in adult court for certain crimes and has no minimum age for trying a child as an adult.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “A 2011 poll of Mississippi Republicans found that 46 percent support a legal ban on interracial marriage, 40 percent oppose such a ban, and 14 percent are undecided.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “The black people around me were strong and determined but marginalized and excluded.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “South during the Civil Rights Era. It was during this time that the birthday of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, was added as a holiday in Alabama. Even today, banks, state offices, and state institutions shut down in his honor.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “My parents lived in a poor rural community on the Eastern Shore, and schools were still segregated. And I remember when lawyers came into our community to open up the public schools to black kids.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “In the 1950s and 1960s, civil rights activism and new federal laws inspired the same resistance to racial progress and once again led to a spike in the use of Confederate imagery. In fact, it was in the 1950s, after racial segregation in public schools was declared unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education, that many Southern states erected Confederate flags atop their state government buildings.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “I was uncertain about what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew it would have something to do with the lives of the poor, America’s history of racial inequality, and the struggle to be equitable and fair with one another. It would have something to do with the things I’d already seen in life so far and wondered about, but I couldn’t really put it together in a way that made a career path clear.”
Bryan Stevenson Quote: “In a landscape littered with all of this imagery about the nobility of the Civil War and the Confederate effort and struggle, the absence of markers says something really powerful.”
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