Question: In ancient times in Israel, people who inadvertently harmed someone were placed in cities of refuge until the special jubilee year (Shmita Yovel). What happened if a person did not correct himself by that year? Was he still forgiven?
Answer: No. In the society where he lived, they would work on him. Punishment, of course, existed, but not in the form of imprisonment.
A person must be in an environment that not directly, but indirectly explains to him how to be a different element of society. And so, after some time, he receives a certain influence.
Give that criminal an opportunity to work and study philosophy, psychology, and other sciences; place him in a different environment so that he is in close contact with the others. This is the only way to influence a person.
And we, on the contrary, throw him into an environment of even greater criminals for whom perpetrating a crime is a brave deed. As a result, he comes out ready for new criminal actions.
Is this called punishment? This is called isolating him from society! You prepare him for more crimes. This is what we see.
We ourselves created such a society and systems of punishment. And according to Kabbalah, there should be a system not of punishment, but of correction.
From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Presumption of innocence” 3/10/10