Social Finance welcomes the Government’s renewed focus on rehabilitation of short sentenced prisoners and the use of outcomes–based testing for new innovation. In 2010 Social Finance set up the first such scheme – funded through a Social Impact Bond (SIB) – to work with all short sentenced male offenders leaving Peterborough Prison. Two years into a seven year programme, the One* Service is now well-established with high levels of engagement from prisoners. We are seeing strong support from the prison, the police, probation and local stakeholders including the Safer Peterborough Partnership. Anecdotally, prison and police report they have seen positive impact on the people they work with. However we will only know in 2014 whether we have reduced the level of reoffending amongst our cohort when an independent assessment against a national control group is carried out.
We need to fund what works. We’re delighted that the Government has recognised the necessity of providing support for this group of offenders. We agree that “prevention is the cheapest and most effective way to deal with crime”. And we believe that Social Impact Bonds are an innovative funding mechanism that can provide long term capital to social sector organisations tackling other ingrained social issues.