Massachusetts launched an initiative to reduce juvenile recidivism by signing a contract for the largest pay-for-success financial investment in the U.S., reports WAMC radio in Albany. The goal is to improve the lives of nearly 400 at-risk youth in western Massachusetts, reduce crime, and save taxpayers money. Massachusetts will pay millions of dollars to Roca if the non-profit organization succeeds in reducing the number of days young men referred to it spend in jail. The greater the success, the higher the payments – up to $27 million.
Michael Coelho of the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Security said Roca was chosen because its program has a 26-year history of working with young men ages 17 to 24, who have greater odds of going to jail than of getting a job. “The ability to deliver a strong service and use data to improve what they deliver and strengthen the outcomes for this target population is the main reason they (Roca) got chosen.” The first government payment to the program is not due for five years. The payments are based on benchmarks. If there is a 40 percent reduction in the number of days spent in jail by program participants, Roca would be paid $22 million, which is what the state calculates it would save in incarceration costs. Private investors — not taxpayers — assume the risk for the initiative.