Good news from Canada on Circles of Support and Accountability
Oct 12, 2009
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.
"We got the thumbs up," Andrew McWhinnie, the national co-ordinator of the 15-year-old program, told The Canadian Press.
He'd originally been informed that the funding application had been spiked by the minister's office after getting bureaucratic approval.
McWhinnie credits news coverage of that rejection for reversing the decision: "Had we not gone the public route, we probably still would be dead in the water today."
McCluskey insisted no decision was taken until Thursday. But he conceded that McWhinnie did have the wording of a rejection letter read to him over the phone almost two weeks ago by non-plussed officials at the National Centre for Crime Prevention, which Van Loan oversees.
"The director of the National Crime Prevention Centre was not speaking for the minister," McCluskey said.