SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Roca is a center dedicated to curbing recidivism among at risk youth across Massachusetts.
Here in Springfield, they work with young men who have been incarcerated, to help them pick up and get back on the right path.
To put things in perspective, 64% of men in the commonwealth who have been to prison re-offend within 5 years.
It’s a number that is not only high, but costly to taxpayers.
On Wednesday, Governor Patrick announced Pay for Success. “These are kids that are already in the system. These aren’t altar boys. They knock on the door of being real problems in our community, and we need strong interventions, and that’s why I like ROCA, because I see them being a partner with us,” said Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe.
Ashe is glad that private companies like Goldman Sachs and living cities are getting in on it, funding 85% of the $27 million dollar cost. Roca puts up the other 15%.
Using research, and aggressive outreach methods, the hope is that over 7 years, recidivism rates will drop.
If so, the U.S. Dept. of Labor will continue to fund the project for another 391 more people. If successful, Sheriff Ashe says this is a program that could not only revolutionize the way recidivism is handled in Massachusetts, but nationwide. “There’s going to be less kids that the public has to pay for in the division of youth services, less people in our county jails, less people going to prison, but more particularly transforming lives. These are kids who now have a chance,” Ashe stated.
Sheriff Ashe agrees it’s worth the investment.
Roca serves young men and women all over the state, including Boston, Revere, Cambridge, and Somerville.