Source: (2002) Papua New Guinea National Law and Justice Conference. 1-2 March.Judge S. A. Thorburn points to the rising numbers of offenders being sentenced to imprisonment in New Zealand in recent decades. Additionally, rates of re-offending are high, particularly among those who served long sentences in prison. In view of these realities, Thorburn raises questions about imprisonment. Is imprisonment effective, or is it counter-productive? What is the purpose of imprisonment? Is there a better way? Are there alternatives? To explore these questions and possible answers, and chiefly in the context of New Zealand, Thorburn reviews the history of prisons, two paradigms of criminal justice (the one punitive and the other restorative), alternative sentences, and legislative and criminal justice developments in New Zealand.