OK approves 1st Pay for Success contract addressing female incar - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

OK approves 1st Pay for Success contract addressing female incarceration

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) —Oklahoma and Tulsa-based Family & Children’s Services (F&CS) have entered into a groundbreaking Pay for Success (PFS) contract aimed at reducing Oklahoma’s nation-leading female incarceration rate by securing public-private investment in the successful Women in Recovery (WIR) prison diversion program.

“Government too often pays for programs that it hopes work, but under this arrangement, government will pay for what works,” Governor Mary Fallin said. “Women in Recovery is a cost-effective alternative that improves public safety and helps preserve Oklahoma families. Through this agreement, the state will partner with private entities to expand its success and reduce Oklahoma’s unacceptable female incarceration rate in the process.”

The PFS project was made possible by Senate Bill 1278, which Fallin signed into law in 2014. The bill gave the state the ability to take new approaches to criminal justice programming with qualified criminal justice service providers.

“We are thrilled to see completion of this historic agreement that motivates philanthropy, nonprofit and government to work together, in pursuit of better outcomes,” said Ken Levit, executive director of GKFF.

The adoption of the Pay for Success model transfers risk from the state to the private sector, in pursuit of preventive programs that hold promise for long-term cost savings and social benefits.

“Pay for Success helps drive resources to effective programs that serve some of our society’s most vulnerable communities,” said Tracy Palandjian, chief executive officer and co-founder of Social Finance. “Pay for Success is essentially about ensuring value for taxpayers—not only because government just pays for programs that make an impact, but also because these projects encourage investments in prevention. That’s smart government at work.”

WIR is an intensive outpatient alternative for eligible women facing long-term prison sentences for drug-related offenses. WIR equips women with the skills they need to become productive members of society by ensuring program participants receive supervision, substance abuse and mental health treatment, workforce readiness training and assistance with parent-child reunification.  

“Since we established the program in 2009, Women in Recovery has served more than 570 women impacting the lives of more than 1,200 children. Through trauma informed, gender-responsive treatment combined with evidenced-based programming, we are able to transform the lives of WIR women and their families. They return to their communities more productive and able to provide for themselves and their children,” said Mimi Tarrasch, senior executive program director of WIR. “This contract is a great step forward for funding effective alternatives to incarceration.”

The contract presents no financial risk to the state as payments are only made for successful program outcomes.

Information provided by the Office of Governor Mary Fallin. 

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