Prison Reform: A Torah Perspective on the American Crisis

By Shmuly Yanklowitz

Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, December 2007

This article outlines the history of prisons in America, and reviews halakhic (Jewish legal) frameworks for justice and responses to crime. By tracing the Jewish tradition’s approach to the use of prison, we can learn more effective ways to address the current crisis of the American penal system. As will be demonstrated, the Torah takes a fascinating approach, primarily rejecting prison as a punitive measure.

Most of modern, western society has removed torture, capital punishment, corporal punishment, and solitary confinement from the penal system. However, the current American penal system has fallen behind. Our Torah values and moral convictions place responsibility upon the American Jewish community to advocate for better conditions within prisons and for more creative solutions for rehabilitation than are currently being provided.

Topic: Halakha, Morality, Jewish Law, Social Justice, Justice, Ethics, Law, Crime, Government

Name of Publication: Milin Havivin

Editor: Shiller, Benjamin , Weiss, Akiva Dovid

Volume/Issue: Vol. 3

Page Number(s): 16-42

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Identifier: ISBN: 1-934730-50-5 / ISBN13: 978-1-934730-50-8

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Yanklowitz, Shmuly. Prison Reform: A Torah Perspective on the American Crisis. Milin Havivin. Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School. December 2007: 16-42.


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