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Criminal Justice Reform

Prisoners are People
While the modern legal system has prisons at the core of its establishment, the Torah never features prison as a form of punishment, even as a deterrent. This, because the idea of locking someone up is antithetical to the nature of humanity. According to the Torah, a person was put on this earth for a purpose. Withholding one’s ability to achieve that purpose is the most inhumane treatment he can possibly suffer.
The Backstory of the Chassidim Who Got Criminal Justice Reform Done
Inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, a group saw prison reform through from proposal to law
Incarceration As a Modality of Punishment and Rehabilitation
A Torah Perspective
Under America’s criminal justice system, we have incarcerated more than two million of our fellow citizens in federal, state and county facilities. In contrast, the concept of prison does not appear anywhere in Judaism...
Judaism, Jails and Justice: A Conversation With Judge Jack B. Weinstein
The 98-year-old federal jurist speaks about criminal justice, the Aleph Institute, and the Rebbe’s influence on his life and work
Recipe for Successful Behavior Modification
How do we identify the internal switches that operate the source of all actions, and do we have the mechanism to manipulate and control them?
Prison Juice
Imprisonment is a fate worse than death, out of which the truly righteous squeeze an elixir more potent than life
Prison Reform Is a Jewish Value
Punitive incarceration robs people of their humanity and ability to be productive and live a meaningful life.
Worthy of Respect
Rabbi Sholom Ber Lipskar is executive director of the Aleph Institute, which services the religious needs of Jewish men and women in prison. In 1985, they brought a group of prisoners to spend a weekend in Crown Heights, where they attended the Rebbe’s Shabbos Farbrengen.
Prisoners, Families and Torah
Mitzvot for the incarcerated souls...in and out of prison
The Aleph Institute
May you merit to be an Aleph; a leader. But don’t stop at Aleph; move onto Beis, then Gimmel, until Taf.
The Rebbe's Plan to Calm the Streets of New York
Jacob Worenklein, who was an intern at the office of the president of the New York City Council, recalls arranging a meeting between City Council President Francis X. Smith and the Rebbe at a time when New York City was facing a surge in crime. (1969)
Keeping Brooklyn Safe
Mayor John Lindsay discusses crime with the Rebbe
New York City Mayor John Lindsay comes to visit the Rebbe in 770 to discuss crime and social issues in the Crown Heights community.
Who’s Paying for Their Crime?
Allocating Valuable Resources to Serving Jews in Prison
How communities can determine the priority of helping incarcerated Jews. Keynote speech at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Jewish Prison Chaplains.
Religious Rights in Prison
June 23, 1991 · 11 Tammuz, 5751
When the prison officials makes it difficult for the Jewish inmates put on tefillin daily, to whom should the prisoners turn?
Breaking Free of the Past
Chanukah in Prison
Chanukah, 5738
When we find ourselves in an “after unset” situation, strong faith will illuminate our lives.
A Message to the Incarcerated
In the Days of Elul 5737 [1977]
Bringing Chanukah Light to Prisoners
The Rebbe instructs Rabbi Shabsi Katz, chief Jewish chaplain for South Africa’s prison system, to brighten the lives of prisoners incarcerated in South Africa.
Criminal Justice Summit at Columbia Inspired by the Rebbe’s Teachings
Looking for alternatives to incarceration; finding the Divine spark in prisoners
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