An Outcome Evaluation of Minnesota Circles of Support and Accountability (MnCoSA)
....The use of the COSA model with high-risk sex offenders began in a small Mennonite community in Canada in the early 1990s. Grounded in the tenets of the restorative justice philosophy, the COSA model attempts to help sex offenders successfully reenter http://www.doc.state.mn.us/publications/documents/9-12MnCOSAResearchinBrief.pdfthe community and, thus, increase public safety, by providing them with social support as they try to meet their employment, housing, treatment, and other social needs. Each COSA consists of anywhere between four and six community volunteers, one of whom is a primary volunteer, who meet with the offender on a regular basis. The results from several evaluations of the Canadian COSA model suggest it significantly reduces sex offender recidivism....
Circles for sex offenders first in the South
Durham is starting the first Circles of Safety and Accountability in the South for sex offenders getting out of prison. COSA will match recently released sex offenders in Durham with a circle of people who will meet with them weekly to hold them accountable and support them in re-entering the community.
Durham County is home to about 300 convicted sex offenders.
Review: A community-based approach to the reduction of sexual re-offending: circles of support and accountability
Often sex offenders are isolated people who have difficulty making relationships, and when they come out of prison the double stigma of prison and the nature of their offence isolates them still more – an extra hardship for them, and an increased risk that they will revert to their previous behaviour. So the idea of forming a circle of support for them is both humane and a safeguard. It does not fall under the usual definition of restorative justice, because it does not include dialogue with the victim, which would in many cases be unwanted and/or inappropriate. It does however restore or even improve the situation of the offender, and it involves members of the community.
Circulos de Paz and the promise of peace: Restorative justice meets intimate violence
Circles of Peace/Circulos de Paz was founded in Nogales, Arizona in 2004 to address these myriad problems with both the criminal justice response to intimate violence and Batterer Intervention Programs. Circles of Peace is the first court-referred domestic violence treatment program to use a restorative justice circle approach to reduce violent behavior in families in the United States.
The program consists of twenty-six to fifty-two weeks of conferences, or "Circles," bringing partners who have been abusive (the "applicants") together with willing family members (including those who have been abused, the "participants"), support people, a trained professional facilitator, and community volunteers. The goal is to encourage dialogue about the incident, the history of violence in this family, and meaningful change.
Will it go 'round in circles?
Even as a 70-year-old grandmother, Daisy Waring admits she's still learning about herself. This lesson, though, comes at a high price.
Her grandson, Byron Lamar Waring, is on death row for the 2005 Raleigh stabbing death of Lauren Redman.
No one talks about it in her small town of Eutawville, S.C. So she kept her sadness and depression bottled up. She felt alone.
Waring first learned about healing circles while attending a conference in 2007 for those like her. The tradition has been used for centuries to resolve conflict and make important community decisions.
Healing circles have helped Waring so much that she travels to Durham every December for an event sponsored by the Capital Restorative Justice Project.
"It really helped me to grow because I really felt empty," Waring said. "Cried all the time. When I leave them, I have hope that it's going to be all right.
"It's an ongoing thing, but every day it gets better, and I'm learning to cope from it."
Good news from Canada on Circles of Support and Accountability
The Harper government has agreed to fund a program aimed at keeping convicted sex offenders from committing more crimes - apparently reversing an earlier rejection of the acclaimed project.
Some $7.4 million in federal funding will be provided over five years for Circles of Support and Accountability, the office of Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan confirmed Thursday.
"By deciding today to fund this program, our government is taking concrete action to make our communities safer," spokesman Chris McCluskey said in an email.
The five-year deal will help the largely volunteer organization double the number of sex offenders in the program to about 300 next year, and more closely monitor results to determine what works best with offenders once they've served their sentences.