“Recidivism is such a rusty gear in the poverty cycle that few entities have had the will, the resources, and the fortitude to confront it, particularly in an era of tight public budgets. Young ex-offenders simply disappear into the margins of society, where they find few opportunities and lots of negative temptation.

Fortunately, a small movement is afoot to address this issue, and Massachusetts is leading the way. Ralph is in the midst of a remarkable transformation thanks to Roca, a Boston-based nonprofit which has a strong track record fighting recidivism. Of the 115 high-risk young men who were in the advanced stages of Roca’s programming last year, 89 percent had no new arrests and 69 percent retained employment.

Expanding promising programs like Roca’s to scale is a critical bridge to long-term change, and last week, Governor Deval Patrick stepped forward and announced that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a group of private sector collaborators will use an innovative approach to doing just that with Roca.

With Ralph Bonanno by his side, Governor Patrick unveiled the Massachusetts Juvenile Justice Pay for Success Initiative, a seven-year, $27 million effort to expand Roca’s services that will be backed by Third Sector Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs, The Kresge Foundation, Living Cities, The Boston Foundation and, my organization, New Profit Inc.”

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