Church Council on Justice and Corrections (CCJC)

Church Council on Justice and Corrections (CCJC)

February 03, 2015 22:16 ET

Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA): An Effective Approach to Community Safety

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 3, 2015) - The Church Council on Justice and Corrections (CCJC), in collaboration with CoSA sites across Canada, recently completed a five year demonstration project funded through the National Crime Prevention Centre of Public Safety Canada. The result of this project is a comprehensive evaluation report of CoSA in Canada.

Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) is a community-based reintegration program, grounded in restorative justice principles, that holds sex offender's accountable for the harm they have caused while assisting with their task of re-entry into communities at the end of their sentences.

This evaluation is a valuable addition to the growing body of international research on CoSA programs. This report, along with similar research, indicates that CoSA is a critical tool in the re-integration for high-risk, high needs sexual offenders in Canada and plays an essential role in reducing sexual victimization and keeping communities safe.

This evaluation report is the first of its kind for CoSA in Canada in that it provides an in- depth look at the process dynamics of CoSAs through site case studies. The report addresses the question of what goes on in a circle of support and accountability, something that has not previously been examined. It also brings into question the sustainability of CoSA in Canada, given imminent federal funding cuts to many sites on March 31, 2015.

A close look at the inner workings of CoSA reveals a program where dedicated staff and volunteers strive to provide vital integration support to individuals being released from federal correctional facilities into communities across Canada. Most importantly, this report demonstrates how CoSA programs provide a necessary compliment to formalized support structures through a focus on building supportive relationships between recently released offenders, staff, and circle volunteers who understand what's at stake in holding offenders accountable to the community.

The full report can be found at: www.ccjc.ca or at the following address: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/COSA-EVALUATION-FINAL-EN.pdf

Background:

About CCJC: CCJC is a national faith-based not-for-profit organization that promotes restorative justice and sponsors initiatives to build safer communities. In 2009 CCJC assisted in an inter-agency funding proposal to the National Crime Prevention Centre (NCPC) to conduct a national demonstration of CoSA. This resulted in the CoSA National Demonstration Project. CCJC served as the umbrella organization holding the Contribution Agreement for this Project. Further background can be found at www.ccjc.ca

About CoSA Canada: In 2014 individual CoSA sites collaborated to form CoSA Canada, a national organization dedicated to building upon the success of CoSA across the country while increasing the stability of sites through exploring innovative funding options. Further information can be found at www.cosacanada.com

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