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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.

Helpful links:

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.

‘A guide to establishing a time bank within a prison’ – a feasibility study on establishing a time bank within HMP & YOI Cornton Vale prison. Its aim is to introduce the readers to time banking and to inform the third sector about the possibilities of expanding time banks by making links with prisons. Throughout the chapters it will be suggested that volunteering through time banks can bring a lot of benefits not only to ordinary time banking members but to prisoners as well.


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