Social Impact Bond could head to Scottish jails

 Social Impact Bond could head to Scottish jails

Chrisanthi Giotis, Social Enterprise Live


A programme working to reduce reoffending in Scotland for the past four years could be funded in the future by a Social Impact Bond.


Roots out of Prison, run by social enterprise the Wise Group, works in five prisons in the country. It meets prisoners who have served sentences of three months to four years at the prison gate and helps them into employment.


The project is currently funded until mid next year by the Big Lottery Fund and European cash.


The Wise Group CEO Laurie Russell said the social enterprise is currently in discussions with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Prison Service and the Big Lottery about future funding and that could include going down the Social Impact Bond route.


‘The Social Impact Bond model is clearly one we’re looking at closely because it’s absolutely appropriate,’ he said.


The first Social Impact Bond, which sees services to lower the re-offending rate paid for by investors initially, but then investors receiving a return from the Treasury if the intervention is successful, was recently launched in England at Peterborough Prison.


As with the service in Peterborough the Wise Group uses ex-offenders to help turn convicts lives around.


Speaking at a corporate social innovation event run by Wavelength last week, Russell told the story of one of the first employees on the Roots out of Prison programme, who spent 25 years in and out of prison. In five years he had cost the state £955,000. However, Russell said this figure was an understatement as it doesn’t take into account the cost of his crimes or the impact on his family.


Russell said: ‘I’ve seen this big gruff Glaswegian in floods of tears at receiving a certificate for his work on the programme, hugging the certificate and saying he was going straight away to show it to his mum who was in hospital because he’d never received a certificate before in his life.’


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