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Abstract

Our prisons have failed society because they do not, generally, provide an experience that is likely to help offenders overcome the obstacles that led them to make mistakes for which they are now being punished. Instead, they reinforce the violence and exploitation that many offenders were sentenced to prison for in the first place. They have failed because they do not promote restoration, a key to successful reintegration, and nobody benefits when offenders are more dangerous when they are released than when they entered prison. This Essay proposes that a restorative model of justice replace our failed punitive model. By changing their vision and implementing constructive reforms, policymakers can conquer an addiction that is wasting lives and billions of dollars.

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