New program to help former criminals

The goal is to increase the job rate among former criminals

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – There’s a new opportunity to help former criminals get off the streets and into the workforce. 22News was at the launch of a program called “Pay for Success” in Springfield.

Private investors like Goldman Sachs have fronted $27 million, making this initiative the nation’s largest investment of its kind. The goal is to increase the job rate among former criminals.

The initiative is through ROCA, Inc. in Springfield, which offers short and long-term training programs and tracks the success of recently-released prisoners as they find jobs.

Jarne Jones of Springfield was in jail for armed robbery and other crimes. He spoke to mayors, state representatives and philanthropists Tuesday about his success.

“There’s no reason why somebody with the same history as me can’t be in the same situation as me,” said Jones. “I work at American Saw and Blade at Lennox right now and everything’s going good over there.”

The program is called “Pay for Success” because the state will only reimburse private investors if it’s successful. That state money will come from jail budgeting.

The idea is with less criminals returning to jail, the money will be better spent to support these programs instead.