Crime is first of all a harm done to victims. The State is an abstraction, and as such is not a victim of crime. It is an instrument of the community for the purposes of providing needed resources.
The duties of the State are to provide resources and processes that effectively address the harms done to victims, the re-integration of offenders into the community and ensure that the broader community harms and needs are adequately dealth with in a manner that nutures a safe, healthy society and a restored community.
A fundamental component of crime is that it is an act of disrespect toward another. Restorative justice holds that effective responses to crime must be responses that address the issue of respect for the humanity of both the victim and the offender.
Individuals who create harm for others need to be accountable and responsible directly to those harmed in ways that meaningfully address the harms done. The offender's responsibility is to make right the wrong to the greatest degree possible. This includes attending to needs created by the offence, and attending to personal needs which led to the offence.
It is in the best interest of the community, the victim and the offender for justice responses to focus on healing and (re)integration of victim and offender into the community. Leave one or more of the parties to a crime out and restorative justice is negated. Victims must be respected and their needs fully met. Offenders must be respected but their criminal act(s) condemned
Restorative justice also recognizes that "offender" and "victim" labels are temporary and interchangeable over time within any community.
Restorative justice addresses crime at the earliest point possible with the maximum amount of voluntary cooperation and the minimum amount of coercion. Processes that delay addressing the crime create further harm and victimization for all involved in the process
Processes that encourage collaboration and voluntary participation create potential for transformation and healing. Adversarial, coercive processes tend to increase or multiply harms and to be counterproductive to transformation and healing.
When offenders and/or victims are unable or unwilling to respond to crime in a collaborative way, the State on behalf of the community must use alternate processes, including separation of the offender from the community and deprivation of freedom of movement. All parties must still be treated with fundamental respect. The ultimate goals must be retained: responsibility and accountability for the offender in making right the harm done, and encouraging healing and health for all involved to the end that the commonly is peopled by healthy and whole persons.