In his massive study of Hebrew law, The Institutes of Biblical Law, R. J. Rushdoony, the theocratic patriarch of the "Christian Reconstruction" movement, says prisons are unBiblical:
In Biblical law the goal is not punishment but restoration, not the infliction of certain penalties on criminals but the restoration of godly order.
In line with this thinking, Jeffrey A. Tucker of the Mises Institute says we should Free Bernie Madoff.
Concerning Biblical Law, Rushdoony notes,
restitution was the law; where an order of law had been violated, restoration was the basic function of the courts. Where criminals were unable to make restitution, bond-service was mandatory in order to work out the required restitution.
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishes slavery "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted."
The "bond-service" Rushdoony describes is not a "punishment." It is the requirement to make the victims whole; to put them in the position they would have been in had the crime not been committed.
Bernie Madoff's victims were stolen from. From now on they will be stolen from continuously, to pay for the senseless warehousing of Bernie Madoff.
Madoff should spend as much of the rest of his life as is necessary to use his financial skills to make restitution to his victims.
Tucker paints a bigger social picture:
Just how unusually evil were Madoff's actions? Not that unusual. In fact, the whole notion of paying off past investors with the funds of present investors is at the very core of the Social Security system. At least Madoff sought the consent of his investors who let him care for their money based on their own volition. And at least he didn't attempt to defend himself with the claim that he was conducting wise ["compassionate"] public policy.