Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
URL: http://rac.org/PrintItem/index.cfm?id=1177&type=Articles
Criminal Justice and Jewish Values
We are commanded to turn weapons of destruction into tools for the greater good of society. We also reaffirm the Biblical concept that the criminal is a human being, capable of reshaping his or her life.

In Isaiah 2:4, it is said: "And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks." We are commanded to turn weapons of destruction into tools for the greater good of society. Also in Jewish tradition, the sanctity of human life is a primary value. The Bible commands us "Thou shalt not murder." The Talmud teaches us that - he who takes one life it is as though he has destroyed the universe and he who saves one life it is as though he has saved the universe." We also reaffirm the Biblical concept that the criminal is a human being, capable of reshaping his or her life. "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ezekiel 33:11).

All Content © Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism