Question: Why is the entire system of our activities of daily living based on punishment? For example, the traffic rules are built in such a way that if a person crosses some line, he must be punished.
Answer: Our egoism does not understand anything in any other way. How else can it understand what is going on? If it is not punished, it will not know where its boundaries are and it will do what it can do to hurt itself even more.
Comment: But if we send people to prisons, they become even worse people there.
My Response: According to the Torah, there should be no prisons at all. There is no such punishment as a prison. Jews have never had them. All countries had different punishments, but the Jews did not. They only had compulsory re-education, not detention or deportation to remote places. That will not make things better. We can see it.
A person should not be isolated from society. If society can correct everything, then why isolate a person?! This is why we never had this. Only the nations who do not know the wisdom of Kabbalah and what is happening to humanity and to the world had this.
Question: How were people punished in Judaea before?
Answer: They were not punished! There were six cities of refuge in the country (Arei Miklat),where those who committed involuntary manslaughter could go to flee from revenge. In principle, no one was going to take revenge on them because people then lived according to spiritual laws.
In the cities of refuge everything was the same as in ordinary cities. There was what is called intense “brainwashing” meaning intense education conducted with them.
Question: Then, where did the prison as such come from?
Answer: For egoism, prison, in the literal sense of the word, is the easiest punishment that can be. We just get rid of a person. Basically, it is like death, but much sweeter.
Let’s say you would execute a criminal, but what is the use of it? Here, however, he is alone, gradually dying, realizing what you did to him. That is, society treats people with special cruelty.
Most importantly, prison is not correction. Therefore, there should not be such a condition. People come out of prison as even greater sinners and monsters than when they entered.
It is due to the fact that, on the one hand, they are released from prison according to their term of imprisonment, and not according to the willingness of a person to be in society. After all, what does the term of imprisonment matter? If a person has improved after a year, let him go back to freedom. If he has not improved in ten years, then do not release him in any case, he will only do harm. What does prison give? Well, he formally served his sentence. It is ugly, it is stupid, and it doesn’t make any sense.
Let’s say a judge passes a sentence, then what happens? If I was sentenced to jail, then the punishment should purify me, correct me in some way. If I came out after some time and did not correct myself, and did something again, then what do you want from me? Put the prosecutor and the judge in jail! They were the ones who gave me this kind of correction that did not work.
I am just a human being. It means that I was wrongly detained, sent away somewhere, and something was done to me. Wrongly! Therefore, those who ascribed this kind of punishment to me should be jailed. Punishment should be a correction! And there is none of it.
From the point of view of spiritual laws, our world is utterly small and completely irrational.
There should be no punishment, there should be correction. The punishment is that a person has committed a crime. This is his punishment. Now he must bring himself to a corrected level before himself, before society, before everything.
Question: Will the society of the future be a society without prisons?
Answer: Undoubtedly! Without any prisons. What is the point of keeping people in them if they do not correct a person?
From the talk “I Got a Call. Crime and Punishment” 1/21/14