Preventing crime, rehabilitating offenders and reducing offending are complex social problems with no easy solution. Creative approaches running alongside traditional services are becoming increasingly popular. For example, a restorative justice approach, where instead of traditional sentences, perpetrators engage in voluntary work to pay back citizens and community, has been trialled in the UK.
There are a number of creative ways time banks have been used in the field of criminal justice. First, time banks can be mechanisms to assist the process of restorative justice. Second, time banks have used to work with young offenders in the USA. Third, time banks have been established in prisons in the UK to assist with rehabilitation and provide opportunities for inmates to support their families through donating time credits.
There is empirical evidence to suggest positive outcomes for young people and staff using time banking in rehabilitation. Furthermore, there are a number of theoretical pieces exploring the potential of time banking in this area.
Restorative justice brings those harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward. This is part of a wider field called restorative practice.