That is what is driving this jail program profiled by the New York Times and the concept of reward if recidivism is lowered is excellent.
It will be very interesting to see how this turns out over the next several years.
“New York City, embracing an experimental mechanism for financing social services that has excited and worried government reformers around the world, will allow Goldman Sachs to invest nearly $10 million in a jail program, with the pledge that the financial services giant would profit if the program succeeded in significantly reducing recidivism rates.
“The city will be the first in the United States to test “social impact bonds,” also called pay-for-success bonds, which are an effort to find new ways to finance initiatives that might save governments money over the long term.
“First used in Britain and now being explored in Australia, the bonds are rapidly capturing the imagination of some public officials in the United States: on Wednesday, Massachusetts announced that it was completing negotiations with two nonprofit groups to finance juvenile justice and homelessness programs, with the promise of repayment only if the programs work.
“The federal government, Connecticut, New York State and Cuyahoga County, Ohio, among others, are at various stages of considering using the bonds to harness new funds for human-services programs.
“In New York City, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg plans to announce on Thursday that Goldman Sachs will provide a $9.6 million loan to pay for a new four-year program intended to reduce the rate at which adolescent men incarcerated at RikersIsland reoffend after their release.
“The money is not a huge amount for Goldman, which last month reported over $900 million in second-quarter profit, and the investment promises a public-relations benefit for the Wall Street bank. For the city, the money allows the Bloomberg administration to demonstrate, and test, several of its priorities: enlisting private sector help in financing public needs, and tying program money to rigorous outcome evaluations.
“The Goldman money will be used to pay MDRC, a social services provider, to design and oversee the program. If the program reduces recidivism by 10 percent, Goldman would be repaid the full $9.6 million; if recidivism drops more, Goldman could make as much as $2.1 million in profit; if recidivism does not drop by at least 10 percent, Goldman would lose as much as $2.4 million.”