Two articles today as Oklahoma looks to improve the outlook for female prisoners using a SIB structure. Led by State Senator Kim David. Encouraging news…
The Senate Appropriations Committee last week gave unanimous approval to a measure seeking to lower Oklahoma’s high female incarceration rate. Senate Bill 1278, by Sen. Kim David, would authorize the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) to enter into a Pay-for-Success (PFS) contract pilot program for those criminal justice programs that have had proven outcomes with reducing public sector costs associated with female incarceration.
“Oklahoma has had the highest female incarceration rate in the country for several years now. Oklahoma’s history of imprisoning nonviolent women, rather than treating them, is expensive, ineffective and damaging to families. It’s important that we offer alternatives to incarceration to get these women rehabilitated and back to the workforce and their families,” said David, R-Porter. “Incarceration and poverty are a vicious cycle in our state that we can stop by giving these women the counseling and education they need to get clean, find a job and be able to support themselves without returning to a life of drugs and crime.”
With a PFS contract, the government negotiates with a program to deliver a specific outcome, such as reduced incarceration. Private philanthropy provides upfront funding for the program. If, and only if, specific outcomes are achieved, the state would then re-pay a portion of the savings realized. Otherwise, the state does not pay anything. Therefore, the state transfers all risks to the nonprofit.
“Utilizing Pay-for-Success contracts is a fiscally-responsible way for Oklahoma to address our incarceration rates. The state only pays after services have been delivered and if specific outcomes and monetary savings are achieved; otherwise, the state owes nothing,” explained David. “Another financial benefit of using these contracts is that state payment will never exceed the state’s savings created through the contracted programs.”
Pay-For-Success Programs: Let’s Give Them A Try
A bill recently approved by a Senate committee would authorize pay-for-success contracts with nonprofits, which would be rewarded if , and only if, they deliver.
The proposal would put Oklahoma in the company of New York City and several other states that in the past three years have adopted pay-for-success programs promoting accountability and results.
The initial pay-for-success program in Oklahoma would address diverting women from prison. Oklahoma has the highest per-capita female incarceration rate in the country.
The legislation, Senate Bill 1278, by Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, was written with the successful Women In Recovery program in Tulsa in mind, but other nonprofit programs could apply.
Women In Recovery is underwritten by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and operated by Family & Children’s Services. Since 2009, the program has diverted more than 130 women from prison, providing them with counseling, substance abuse treatment, job training and other rehabilitative services.
When women successfully complete the program, the state saves money. It costs more than $20,000 a year to incarcerate an inmate and in most cases inmates come out of prison no better prepared to cope and to become a taxpaying member of the community than when they went in.