The Judge’s Sentence: A Prescription For Correction

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: The justice system is designed to determine which activities are correct and which are not, to differentiate between good and evil, to protect our society, and encourage positive behavior. How should we properly build the justice system and what is its function in society?

Answer: The justice system is a system with an educational function. The role of the judge is to explain to people the essence of what happened in each case, the positive and negative aspects of the event regarding the individual and society, in relation to animals, plants, nature, and the Creator. Judges must explain the essence of this action or another.

The action can be realized in a desire, in a thought, or actively, with respect to the person himself, his relatives, and the nation. The judge is a person who understands the deep meaning of creation, the laws of nature, and explains the perverseness of a person’s internal and external behavior that he must correct.

Why is the justice system necessary? The fact is that still, vegetative, and the animate nature operate instinctively, managed by an internal system that doesn’t ask about their desires and doesn’t provide them with any freedom of choice. They act according to the form of the system that moves them.

We cannot blame the lion when he attacks the deer, for this is his nature. This is neither bad nor good; this is simply instinct. However, about a person, we can say that he does good or bad things. We can judge his thoughts, desires, and actions.

For this reason, people need information and education. They should be taught about everything in life. In contrast, animals don’t need to learn anything; it’s enough to feed them and they grow, and along with the addition of kilograms, they get the right attitude toward their environment and will be able to survive.

No animal sends its offspring to school. Only humans need this. After all, the human was intentionally created this way so that he needs to fill the empty space nature left within him. Filling this empty space in a human is to raise him. This is the task of the family; society transmits the information a person lacks from nature.

So, throughout history, humanity developed schools of many kinds that were designed to teach children everything an adult human needs to know in order to survive and become a good member of society.

If, after learning all this, a person still behaves incorrectly in relation to the standards of his society, he is judged in order to clarify what is to be done with him in order to complete the education that he didn’t receive in childhood.

Suppose that I had the flu and I didn’t go to school on the day that they taught us that stealing isn’t allowed. So I grew up without knowing about this prohibition. And then a few years later, I have the opportunity to steal; I take someone’s wallet and they catch me.

I am shocked and don’t understand what they want from me. The wallet was simply lying there and I took it, and so they complete for me the education that was lacking. After all, I really didn’t know about the prohibition. So, the judge says, “These specific actions can fix this person and complete the education that he lacks.”

The person who explains which actions and in what way it is necessary to fill the gaps in my education is called a judge. It is clear that a person cannot correct himself. A complete system of correction stands behind him. In the US, a prison is called a “correctional institution.”

A person goes to prison for correction. This means that the court must scrutinize precisely what a person lacks in order to become a worthy member of society at large, for all of the people, and by what means the deficiency can be filled.

It could be that he needs to be given some special work or to be sent to a zoo to take care of animals, and it could be that he must be sent to study in a school with little children if he lacks the necessary knowledge. The court must find the right solution.

As it is written, “Put up judges and guards for yourself at every gate.”  This refers to a gate leading to the formation of a person. That is how we complete the person and transform him into a useful member of society.

If the transgressor has gone through the correctional system chosen by the judge and returns to crime, then one must ask the judge! Apparently, he made a mistake and didn’t make the right observation regarding the person’s problem and how to correct it.

The judge gives a verdict like a doctor writes a prescription. Due to the imposed “punishment” a person should recover. Punishment is a correction, not locking someone in prison. According to the Torah, there was no punishment like a prison, and we see that prison doesn’t help. A person goes through correction through being assessed fines, doing special work, and filling the gaps. If the person doesn’t succeed in undergoing correction, then it is necessary to “correct” the judge.

The goal of the judge is to understand why the person committed the crime, what the educational deficiency was that caused this bad behavior, and how to fill the deficiency so that he will not transgress like this again.

The judge must be a psychologist, know human nature, and understand how the environment influences people. A person shouldn’t be put into prison where he will find himself in a terrible environment and will only learn how to be even worse. If we put a person in prison, you cannot ever free him from there. In fact after completing his sentence, the transgressor will be worse. Prison is a school for criminals.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 6/17/14

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