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Following the recent riots across the UK, Left Foot Forward (a progressive, left wing, political blog), published the article: “Choosing short sentences over community service for looters will increase reoffending”

It’s been really interesting to look at the comments below the article and see that people are very passionate about crime and punishment and the fact that there are so many different ideas means that we still haven’t found a satisfactory system.

So, I have a position statement which I would really enjoy discussing as a process of sharing wisdom between us.

At the Centre for Peaceful Solutions, what we want is for people to live in harmony with the values of the community through a process of self responsibility and accountability. We recognise that the majority of people find a way to do that without taking up too much time and resource from society. We also acknowledge that there are some people who are unable to do this without pulling on resources. The reasons are many and varied but whatever the reason it is important that society sees some return on its investment. Given that moving those people on or excluding them simply pushes the problem onto someone else, the question is how best to achieve this using the least amount of resource? We have found that the most sustainable way for people to live in harmony with the values of the community is through choice and that when a person has been forced to comply, the suppression of choice will manifest itself  in ways that use up even more resources. We also see that where communities fear for their safety around a person who has or intends to harm others, it is not possible for that person to remain at large in their community until everyone is satisfied that they have found ways to live that does not harm others. So far, the mainstream systems I see in place use up resources without a return that I consider even satisfactory let alone good. The question is how willing we are as a society to try and evaluate new ways intelligently and what would it take for people who are resistant to a new way to consider involving themselves in the process, if only to experience something first hand?

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