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Crime & Criminal Justice

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What started as a backpackers’ dream quickly became a nightmare for four Israelis and two other foreigners. The intervention of world leaders and the involvement of a local Chabad-Lubavitch center helped guarantee the group’s release by their Colombian ca...
Jewish prisoners who spend the High Holidays behind bars are often forgotten. Rabbi Fishel Jacobs spent a career catering to this unseen population.
Aleph Institute symposium draws lessons from ‘Pesach Sheni’
Even during quarantine, one often-ignored group has not been forgotten. Despite strict visitation limits, prison inmates throughout North America have remained the focus of the Aleph Institute, according to prison and law-enforcement officials, criminal j...
Inspired by the Rebbe, a group saw prison reform from proposal to law; the president recognized their efforts
Acknowledging the Jewish people’s “resilience, endurance and faith” at the annual White House Chanukah reception and symbolic menorah-lighting on Wednesday, Dec. 11, President Donald Trump publicly recognized the work of two Chassidic activists who, guide...
The 98-year-old federal jurist speaks about criminal justice, the Aleph Institute, and the Rebbe’s influence on his life and work
On a rainy afternoon this summer, Judge Jack B. Weinstein called a recess on the case he was presiding over at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., to meet with an old friend and comrade-in-arms, Rabbi Sholom Lipskar. The two have known each other si...
First national program for volunteers to visit individual Jewish inmates at federal prisons across country
Tell a friend you are going to federal prison and responses vary from surprise, to sarcastic comments, to questions about why a person would spend precious volunteer time visiting someone who had committed a crime. When I was asked to take part in a new v...
Looking for alternatives to incarceration; finding the Divine spark in prisoners
A single statistic tells the tale: With a prison population of nearly 2.2 million people, the United States—home to just 4.4 percent of the world’s population—holds around 22 percent of the world’s incarcerated individuals, and has the world’s highest per...
Inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, a group saw prison reform through from proposal to law
The U.S. Senate’s overwhelming 87-12 approval last week of the First Step Act, the most sweeping package of criminal justice reform in a generation, was lauded by those on the right and the left as a much-needed step in the right direction for the U.S. cr...
Inmate thanks a visiting rabbi who helped turn his life around
Aaron has not walked freely in 18 years. He grew up in Illinois with very limited access to Jewish community or education, and spent much of his adult life in and out of state custody, his latest stint a 22-year prison sentence that began in 2000 for home...
In program’s third decade, 26 rabbis to visit Jewish men and women in 450 prisons
The mattresses had been much thinner and harder in his former prison, which lacked air-conditioning and was full of gang activity. So why did L.S. (who is currently serving time in Kansas) want to transfer back there? Because at that first correctional fa...
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