Source: (2010) The Open Criminology Journal. 3(48-57).

Sex offenders cause particular concern upon release and are often received with apprehension or hostility by the community. This in turn may increase their feelings of loneliness and poor self-esteem hindering re-integration and potentially increasing re-offending. Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSAs) were first developed in Canada in 1994 and introduced in the UK in 2000. A “Circle” consists of a group of four to six volunteers with the offender as the “Core Member”. Appropriately trained volunteers support and hold to account the core member, who has to volunteer to be part of the scheme, by providing them with social contact and practical support while at the same time maintaining links to statutory agencies alerting them of any risk issues. Following completion of initial pilots the scheme is currently rolled out across the UK. This systematic review will describe the Circles model and its history and summarise the empirical literature particularly with regards to outcomes. (author's abstract)

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