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Goldman Sachs Invests $10 Million To Reduce NYC Recidivism Rates

Rikers Island (file / credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Rikers Island (file / credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYorkAP) - Goldman Sachs will invest almost $10 million in a New York City jail program that will allow the investment firm to profit if it can reduce recidivism rates, city officials announced Thursday.

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller On The Story

The move makes New York the first city in the nation to test “social impact bonds” that enlist private entities in an effort to save governments money over the long term.

Under the Goldman Sachs-funded initiative, inmates aged 16 to 18 will receive education, training and counseling intended to reduce the likelihood of them reoffending after their release.

“This group does not fair all that well. That’s not a secret. In the course of a year of release, about half return to the department’s custody,” Correction Commissioner Dora Schriro told reporters on Thursday.

“New York City is continually seeking innovative new ways to tackle the most entrenched problems, and helping young people who land in jail stay out of trouble when they return home is one of the most difficult – and important – challenges we face,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “As the first city in the nation to launch a social impact bond, we are taking our efforts to new levels and we are eager to see the outcome of this groundbreaking initiative.”

Officials brief reporters on the plan (credit: Monica Miller / WCBS 880)

Officials brief reporters on the plan (credit: Monica Miller / WCBS 880)

Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein added, “We believe this investment paves the way for a new type of instrument that enables the public sector to leverage upfront funding from the private sector.”

City officials said Goldman would provide a $9.6 million loan to pay for the program at the Rikers Island jail complex. If recidivism drops by 10 percent, the firm will get back the $9.6 million. If it drops even more, Goldman could make as much as $2.1 million in profit. If recidivism doesn’t drop by at least 10 percent, Goldman will lose as much as $2.4 million.

Nearly half of the adolescents who leave city jails currently return within one year.

Social impact bonds, also called pay-for-success bonds, were first used in Britain and are being explored in Australia and in the U.S.

Massachusetts is negotiating with two nonprofit groups to finance juvenile justice and homelessness programs with the promise of repayment only if the programs work.

Do you think the program will work? Sound off in the comments section below.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)