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The Rebbe's View on Incarceration

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The Rebbe's View on Incarceration

The Torah considers denying a human being the ability to impact the world through incarceration as inhumane. Instead, we are responsible to help rehabilitate criminals to contribute productively to a moral and just society. We must ensure that prison acts not just as a punishment, but as an opportunity for positive growth.
Prison; Imprisonment, Lubavitcher Rebbe
The Rebbe's View on Incarceration
Disc 156, Program 624

Event Date: 14 Adar II 5736 - March 16, 1976

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.

We’re responsible to make sure that criminals are helped in their lives, rehabilitating them to a productive life in a moral and just society. We must ensure that prison acts not just as a punishment, but as an opportunity for positive growth.

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Carolyn Riddle Austin June 11, 2020

Sadly our prison system won't change until private corporations that are paid by how many prisoners they house are abolished. America should have treatment centers for mental illness and drug dependency. Reply

Cynthia Nayeh TAMPA September 2, 2020
in response to Carolyn Riddle:

Yes, I would agree to that. It is shameful that is permitted to exist in the United States. How much humiliation can a person to be expected to suffer.? The prisoners are made to pay for phone calls, for commissary, to allow them to eat something nutritious . The food is horrible there, and if a prisoner has no family to help him or her, God help them. It is nothing but torture. I cannot believe this is permitted to continue in the USA. What can be done to change this? Reply

Yisroel NY June 8, 2020

excellent torah. perhaps this spiritual insight will also support the work of abolishing prisons and building a more just world with transformative forms of rehabilitation and restitution. Reply

Jared Pomarlen Wayne June 8, 2020
in response to Yisroel:

Perhaps, this is the true answer, to you know what... Reply

Mary Dullinger August 23, 2016

Remember People seem to forget that although another has erred, they remain important to Ha'shem. All they need to do is remember the story of the Children of Israel that although they had been freed from slavery and fed abundantly, still worshipped a gold idol or David's adultery and murder of Uriah, the Chitite. Reply

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