So, you have never heard of a social impact bond? You are not alone. This is a fairly new idea being tested in the United States, but it is based on a familiar concept. The idea is that we invest money in the things we believe will bring us a return on that investment. If we believe that keeping previously incarcerated youth from returning to jail is important, why not reward investors for supporting programs that successfully accomplish the goal of reducing the recidivism rate? After all, a win-win in this area is a benefit for the youth, the country, and now, the investor.
Cash poor governmentsare facing the reality that our penal system is expensive and yields fewer positive results than most desire. Of course there are many reasons for the results, some of which are outside the control of the penal system. Still, a solution must be found to reduce the expenses that crime and punishment create. Imagine, pay for performance in the social services industry. Solve a problem, reap a benefit.
Will this structure work closer to home? Are we in Florida, particularly Pinellas County, ready for this new model? Share your thoughts. Consider joining our Task Force here at The Pinellas County Urban League, and make your voice heard. Call Michael Adekunle at (727) 327-2081 extensiion 119 for more details.