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Pay for Success Initiative Launches in Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB)–Joining ROCA in June, Jarne Jones credits the program with his dramatic turnaround. “Trying to make fast money, the crimes I was doing, like I said, armed robberies, gun possessions, and that’s what led me to my incarcerations, that led me to need to do better,” Jones stated.

As Jones recalls, it was no easy feat.

In order to get to this point, he couldn’t miss one step. No parking tickets. No getting fired. No missing program appointments. “When I was locked up, I used to always see Sheriff Ashe in a jumpsuit. Now he sees me on the flip side, doing speeches, and it changed my life,” added Jones.

Now Jones is a career man, working at Lenox American Saw in East Longmeadow.

Jarne is just one of ROCA’s success stories. According to a Harvard study, they’re responsible for a 65% drop in the recidivism rate.

Springfield’s Pay for Success launch saw mayors and law enforcement officials from not only Western Mass, but out east.

It’s funded up front by private companies, like Goldman Sachs. They invest money in ROCA, to deter recidivism, which costs taxpayers a lot more.

If this initiative is effective over the next 7 year, the U.S. Dept. of Labor will keep funding the project. “These young men live in their communities. They may not always be doing the right thing; sometimes they’re really not doing the right thing. But they can change. They can be part of the success of the community,” ROCA’s Founder and CEO Molly Baldwin shared.

“The fact is, dozens of people are being released, re-entering Springfield, Holyoke, and if we can do anything to increase their chances of success, we want to do that,” said Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.

It’s hope is that more people like Jones can continue to reach back into the community, and re-direct people who might be headed for a similar situation.

Roca has seen 100% of its participants get jobs.


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