Reducing recidivism in Australia. Here is an idea: Cash per years rehabilitated

What are we doing to reduce repeat reoffenders in Australia?

To get the discussion started here’s an idea:

If there are countries paying prison companies for number of prisoners held… then don’t. Its basic economics of perverse incentive.

Instead, pay prison system for the number of years that a prisoner doesn’t re-offend. This will be done in a logarithmic graph, up to the max that we are willing to pay to have the prisoner not re offend at a future date.

So now, instead of private prison being paid to hold prisoners, they are being paid to keep prisoners out of prison.

This is interestingly similar to our “Social Impact Bonds” proposal:

The lack of political will to invest in effective rehabilitation strategies can be countered with ‘social impact bonds’[265].

Social impact bonds are an arrangement under which a private business is assigned large randomised batches of prisoners prior to or after release and provides them with whatever reform and rehabilitation services they deem necessary to successfully reintegrate the newly released prisoners. Social impact bonds cover a diverse range of tailored services that are designed to reduce recidivism, and consequent government savings from reduced re-offending are used to pay for this service. If no improvement is made amongst their assigned batch of released prisoners, then the business receives no payment, but if recidivism is reduced and therefore the cost of law enforcement, corrective services and the crimes themselves are reduced as a result, some contractually agreed proportion of that saving is paid to the social impact bond service provider.

In the worst case scenario where no improvement is made, it costs the government nothing.

In the best case scenario, recidivism is reduced, tax paying citizens are created, considerable savings are made, the rates of crime drops, and former prisoners are successfully reintegrated into the workplace and society in general becomes a safer community.

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Maybe that’s something PPAU should test if this resonates with the public. Might be something to try A & B testing or something. I wonder if other parties are aware of this concept of social impact bonds and if they have considered including it in theirs.