Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) Canada

March 03, 2015 21:22 ET

Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) Canada: Clarifying Facts Sheet

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 3, 2015) - Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) is a community-based reintegration program that holds federal sex offenders accountable for the harm they have caused while supporting their task of re-entry to communities at the end of their sentences. In 2014 individual CoSA sites came together 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. Some important facts about CoSA in Canada:

  • Correctional Service Canada (CSC) has been a partner in CoSA since its inception in 1994 and has provided funding support since 1996. As of March 31st all CSC funding (with the exception of one contract) will end.
  • From September 2009- September 2014 CoSA sites received $7.5 million as part of a National Demonstration Project funded by the National Crime Prevention Center (NCPC), a division of Public Safety Canada. The funding was only intended for five years.
  • Unless the government makes core funding for CoSA a priority, out of the 18 CoSA sites in Canada, only 3-4 sites will continue past summer 2015.
  • CoSA works primarily with those who have reached their warrant expiry date (WED), and are returning to the community with little or no supervision or support. Parolees, including LTSOs, are already supervised upon their release.
  • While jail is always part of the punishment process for offenders who have committed serious sexual offences, it is critical to remember that 95% of offenders, including sex offenders return to the community at some point. This is why CoSA is important.
  • This "Made in Canada" approach has been successfully exported to a number of jurisdictions in the U.S. and the U.K., in addition to France, The Netherlands, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Latvia and South Korea.

CoSA Canada does not believe that funding should have to come at the expense of other vital programs. It is our desire that the members of the Federal Cabinet and the Minister of Public Safety continue to recognize the important role CoSA plays in protecting the public through reduced victimization by committing to provide a budget line that will ensure adequate program delivery into the future. Without adequate funding many CoSA programs will no longer be able to do the important work of keeping our communities safe. When CoSA staff and volunteers spend their time looking for funding risk in the community escalates.

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