In the News (The Guardian): “Prisoners could be handed the keys to their cells to incentivize good behavior, as well as a series of other benefits, under government plans that call on governors to put more emphasis on rewards and less on punishments.
“Ministers want to give prison chiefs the power to begin allowing inmates who follow the rules more time out of their cells, the freedom to cook their own meals and more time to spend in the gym, as well as the freedom to choose when to shower and more time to meet visitors. …
“Officials cited evidence summarized by the government last month that positive reinforcement was more effective as a means by which to change behavior in the long term. And they stressed that those who did not abide by the rules could still lose privileges. …
“The policy also called for prison staff to ‘consistently use verbal reinforcement for good behavior and challenge poor behavior outside formal reviews’, and handed prison chiefs the ‘freedom to increase the amount of time out of cell for recreational activities or exercise alongside education and work programs’.”
Question: What do you think about this system of detention?
Answer: In principle, the Torah and especially Kabbalah feel that incarceration is not a correction. We see that it corrects nothing. On the contrary, people leave prison even more angry with huge malicious egoism that they again begin to use in everyday life among people.
Prison is not education. Education must be organized differently.
In the past, a few thousand years ago, there were cities of refuge where people were deported and looked after. They had to remain inside the city and had no right to leave it.
When the ones supervising them (educators, etc.) saw that a person was functioning normally, they could gradually take him beyond the boundaries of this system.
Remark: It is also said in the Torah that the guilty ones were sent there so that others could not take revenge on them.
My Comment: Yes. It was all organized very seriously for the mutual benefit of both these people and external society. Later they returned.
I would advise this. They should feel free and change gradually.
Remark: But still the idea of the accusers and those that endorse incarceration is different, “They must be humiliated, locked up.”
My Comment: That is natural because we do not have a system of education; we only have a system of coercion and punishment.
Question: Does the system of punishment not work?
Answer: We see that it does not work. Moreover, the rest of society becomes infected by these thoughts. We see proof of the insufficiency of the punishment system in the ones who return to the streets, destroy everything, break store windows, set up barricades, and so on.
Question: Do you think that even the most inveterate criminal can be re-educated?
Answer: I think that it is possible to re-educate them and give them an opportunity for self-control in these cities. They can establish such an order that all others will envy because there is a concept of honor among them. We must understand that they are serious people who can establish order.
Question: What should change in the way of thinking of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors?
Answer: I think they should be locked up instead of these criminals. Then their way of thinking would change. It is impossible to be on one side and think for the other side. Of course, I mean this as a joke, but there is some truth in it.
Remark: You always say that the system of judges used to be completely different. Judges were those who simply could not accept a bribe.
My Comment: Being a judge was the highest position. In principle, to this day it is considered that a judge should receive a good salary, should be protected and independent. But what kind of independence can there be today if all judges obey governments, all are in collusion with each other, “one hand rubs another,” etc.?
Remark: Previously judges did not need to be paid a lot.
My Comment: This is not the point. They really were independent.
Question: How was that possible? What is this ideal image of a judge?
Answer: A judge greatly valued his position. He cherished the public opinion that was constantly tuned in such a way that a judge was above everyone, even above a king. A judge was on the same level as the Creator. It is possible to see this in the Torah, in the Book of Judges. This is the highest position in the country.
Question: Is it possible to raise such people in our egoistic world?
Answer: For this, it is necessary to educate them. We need an education system, not a penal system and not this public one that is a mess. But it is possible.
Question: Do you think that what they want to do in Britain is a step toward education?
Answer: Let them try. But in order to build a correct system, the right people must build it. I do not hold out hope that they will succeed. People with a different way of thinking should create such a system.
Question: So, is this a dead end?
Answer: Yes. Until they turn to Kabbalists nothing will help them. Good luck, British ladies and gentlemen!
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman”, 7/16/19