When is conduct a crime, and when is a crime not a crime? When Somebody Up There -- a monarch, a dictator, a Pope, a legislator -- so decrees.
It is certain that the study of human psychology, if it were undertaken exclusively in prisons, would also lead to misrepresentation and absurd generalizations.
Whatever you think of de Sade, he was a complex figure and we should not look for easy answers with him. He was, strangely perhaps, against the death penalty, and he was never put in prison for murders or anything like that.
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
A just chastisement may benefit a man, though it seldom does; but an unjust one changes all his blood to gall.
It isn't true that convicts live like animals: animals have more room to move around.
I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.
Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.
We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
Faults of the head are punished in this world, those of the heart in another; but as most of our vices are compound, so also is their punishment.
The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.
If you treat prisoners well, they will be less angry, less inclined to violence inside prison, less likely to provoke violent actions by guards, less likely to have reason to file brutality lawsuits that cost taxpayers a bundle and waste administrators' time. And most important, well-treated prisoners will be less likely to leave prison angrier, more vicious and more inclined to criminal behavior than when they went in.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
Law is merely the expression of the will of the strongest for the time being, and therefore laws have no fixity, but shift from generation to generation.
Adversities such as being homeless and going to prison has made many people stronger.
The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor.