Ostfeld, Zvi Hermon (Hermann)

צבי חרמון (הרמן אוסטפלד)

Zvi Hermon (Hermann) Ostfeld was born in 1912 in Germany and died in 1996 in Israel. He grew up in the city of Humburn (now part of Duisburg). In Germany, Hermon was a social worker and a liberal rabbi in training, a probation officer and a doctorate in the field of penology. After his immigration to Palestine in 1938, he studied at the Training School for Social Service in Jerusalem, from which he graduated in 1941 with a thesis) on social problems with regard to guardianship. In 1942, he moved to Haifa and later became the first Jewish probation officer of the city. After the establishment of the State, he worked in the Ministry of Welfare and was director of the Youth Rehabilitation Department. In September 1952, Zvi Hermon became Prison Commissioner, even when the Israel Prison Service was under the auspices of the Israel Police, from 1952 to 1958. After being appointed Prison Commissioner in Hermon prison, he changed procedures in the Israel Prison Service, which were rooted in the British Mandate period, and involved social workers and educational aspects in the service for the first time. Hermon initiated vacations for prisoners, established a psychiatric department for prisoners suffering from mental illness and a prison Emergency Room in Ramla Prison and canceled the use of cudgel by the prison guards. In 1954, he set a payment for prisoners in exchange for their work. Gradually, the general approach has become a rehabilitative approach. This change of roles led to a fundamental change in the attitude of service to prisoners and in the policy and priorities of the Prison Service. Hermon's therapeutic-rehabilitative approach came to fruition, when the establishment was named after him. In 1958, following a prisoner revolt in the Shata prison, a committee of inquiry headed by Yitzhak Ben Aharon was established. In 1964, he became a board member of the hostel for released prisoners in Netanya. In 1959, he was one of the first members of the faculty of the Institute of Criminology, which was established within the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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