Restorative justice moves away from the idea that crimes are offences against the State and humanises them. Crimes are mostly about breakdowns in human relationships, a tear in the social fabric. And once re-conceived in this way it becomes more obvious that the solution is to try to repair that harm.

Restorative Justice schemes have a remarkable - and I mean stunningly so - effect on the re-offending rate. It's time to get our head away from prison and look back into our communities for solutions to social harm.

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