Use Torah Principles for Correctional Systems

Modern-day correctional systems are based on the practice of incarceration. But G-d’s laws that are taught in the Torah of truth do not ever specify imprisonment as the punishment for violating a commandment. One reason is because jail sentences are not a deterrent to crime. But even more so, locking a person up in prison violates the fundamental principle of the Torah, that human beings are created it the image of G-d, as it is stated in Genesis 1:27, “And G-d created man in His image; in the image of G-d He created him; male and female He created them.”

Confining a person in prison is a denial of the Divine nature of the person’s humanity. Everything in the world is put here for a purpose, and imprisonment restrains a person from achieving his purpose in life. According to the Torah, a person is put on this earth for a productive purpose. Taking away a person’s ability to fulfill that purpose, and the long-term suffering which this causes to the person, are deemed to be cruel and inhumane. In all respects, a criminal justice system will be more effective if it helps offenders to better their lives through rehabilitation programs that educate them and uplift them to be productive and moral citizens. The goal of prison reform should be to transform prison sentences into opportunities for personal transformation and growth in knowledge, skills, and ethical behavior.