2019 State Standard of Excellence

15. Repurpose for Results

Did the state or any of its agencies shift funds away from any practice, policy, or program which consistently failed to achieve desired outcomes?

Why is this important?
Repurposing funds from programs that fail to consistently achieve results to programs that consistently achieve results is a key strategy for state governments to improve their performance while building knowledge about what works.

Leading Example

Pennsylvania Outline


Single agency

Criminal Justice

Since 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has set performance targets for its community corrections program through performance-based contracts. Providers that meet recidivism prevention goals receive a 1% increase in their rate while providers that fail to meet targets for two consecutive years can have their contracts terminated. Following the introduction of these performance goals, the program’s recidivism rate dropped by 11.3% in 2014, another 16% in 2015, and another 11% in 2016. In 2018, the Commonwealth Foundation’s report on criminal justice reform in Pennsylvania recommended expanding the program to other areas based on these results.

Promising Examples


Multiple agencies

Criminal Justice
Economic Opportunity

A 2014 Minnesota law (subdivision 7) requires the Minnesota Department of Human Services to use the Self-Support Index to monitor each county’s performance in assisting clients to become self-sufficient. Counties that meet performance targets receive a 2.5% bonus payment from the state, and counties that perform below the expected target must submit a performance improvement plan. In counties where “no improvement is shown by the end of the multiyear plan, the county’s or tribe’s allocation must be decreased by 2.5 percent” (Section 256J.626(7)(a)(2)).

A 2016 Minnesota law (section 14, line 15.21) allows the state to use the savings achieved from reducing the sentences of minor drug offenders for evidence-based drug and mental health treatments for offenders still in prison or under supervised release. The evidence to support this law comes from the Department of Corrections’ own research, which found that providing offenders drug treatment reduces recidivism rates.