While the modern legal system has prisons at the core of its establishment, the Torah never features prison as a form of punishment, even as a deterrent. This, because the idea of locking someone up is antithetical to the nature of humanity. According to the Torah, a person was put on this earth for a purpose. Withholding one’s ability to achieve that purpose is the most inhumane treatment they can possibly suffer.
We’re responsible to make sure that criminals are helped in their lives, rehabilitating them to a productive life in a moral and just society. We must ensure that prison acts not just as a punishment, but as an opportunity for positive growth.