Given persistent high rates of incarceration in the U.S., advocates, service providers, philanthropists, and government leaders have increasingly focused on ways to reduce the number of individuals entering the prison system and providing effective supports for those returning to society. As many as two-thirds of individuals who go to prison are re-arrested within three years often because they are left without a support system to assist in finding housing or employment. The risks presented by a weak support system are heightened in adolescent populations, who may have interacted with the criminal justice system, putting them at higher risk to be incarcerated as adults.
Pay for Success initiatives aim to interrupt the cycle of chronic recidivism by filling a gap in services for high-risk populations—either by preventing future incarceration or providing supports to those exiting the criminal justice system—thus reducing costs down the road. The goals of these programs are to reduce time in jail and raise employment and education attainment among individuals who may have touched or recently exited the criminal justice system. For those preparing to exit the system, programs often provide integrated services—in the form of therapeutic interventions, education, career training, and counseling, or some combination of these services—that previously were not available to individuals returning to their communities.
Pay for Success projects run by high-performing service providers with the support of government and investors provide people a second chance and help create better futures for these individuals, their families and their communities.