Det Chief Supt John Carnochan and Prof Fergus McNeill (Letters, January 31) write eloquently and passionately about the need to rethink our penal policy, and the desperate need to rethink our attitudes to offenders and offending, as evidenced by most of the responses to the recent remarks of Scottish Prison Service chief executive Colin McConnell ("Call for inmates to have phones in cells", The Herald, January 30).

As a nation we need a change of heart towards those who offend, not as a "soft touch" Scotland but with greater understanding of what is needed to turn lives around.

Only when we are in the business of turning lives around will we see an end to the revolving door of re-offending which destroys so many lives, including those who are made victims of crime.

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What is needed most is support, for the families of prisoners in the communities where they live and for those who have been imprisoned when they return to those communities.

In support, both the expert kind and plain ordinary friendship and kindness, there is redemption and there is hope.

Rev E H MacRae,

Convener,

Joint Faiths Advisory Board on Criminal Justice,

Inglewood House,

Alloa.