Richmond to me is a story of pragmatism ... This idea that we’re going to step away from a purely ideological, moralistic approach to try new things and see what works. Barry Krisberg, criminologist at the University of California in Berkeley, quoted in A radical approach to gun crime: paying people not to kill each other, by Jason Motlagh, 'The Guardian', 9 June 2016
This (long) article discusses a programme in Richmond, California that entails paying people not to kill each other. Such payments amount to "a pittance compared with what Richmond police department must pay for overtime, or what the city pays for the cost of a criminal trial, or medevac helicopter rides to take shooting victims to hospitals." There are moral or ethical principles that might be being violated here, but that shouldn't be a bar to pragmatic solutions. It's not difficult to think of problems whose solution might mean that, for instance, killers aren't brought before a court of law, but instead are, essentially, bribed to give up (or decommission) their weapons. Real-world examples include the recent peace deal in Colombia, and deals made with men of violence in Northern Ireland and South Africa. In such cases, despite their crystallising injustice, the benefits to society as a whole far outweigh the costs.
They are not pure expressions of the Social Policy Bond ideal, but they do embody payment-for-outcomes, which is an essential element of that ideal. How would Social Policy Bonds differ? They would allow us to take a longer-term, broader, approach. A bond issue targeting gun deaths in Richmond, California, for instance, could target the reduction of gun deaths by 50 percent over a sustained period; say twenty years. Payments to potential killers might be one way of achieving that goal, but holders of those bonds would make such payments only when they are convinced that they are the most efficient way of achieving their goal - a goal which is exactly congruent with that of society. Still: it's a start.