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Circles of Support & Accountability (COSA): A reentry program for high-risk sex offenders.

Muscat, Bernadette
June 4, 2015

Source: (2010) Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASC Annual Meeting, San Francisco Marriott, San Francisco, California .

In 2006, Fresno County (California) applied for and received a grant from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to begin a Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) program. COSA is a volunteer group that provides support and accountability to high-risk sex offenders upon re-entry to a community. The group is comprised of approximately 4 to 6 pre-screened volunteers who are then assigned to one high-risk sex offender. After an extensive multi-stage interview process, the sex offender is invited to join COSA, a circle is formed, and a covenant is signed indicating a one-year commitment to participate. This presentation will highlight the basic foundations of COSA, the methodology for the evaluation, and an analysis of the qualitative data provided through interviews with the Core Members (sex offenders). Special emphasis will be placed sex offenders as a significant public safety issue and the role that advocates and allied professionals play in providing long-term support for survivors and/or volunteers who may experience vicarious traumatization due to involvement in COSA. The presentation will conclude with areas for suggested improvement for this type of program. (author’s abstract)


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