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Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) is a prisoner reentry program that works with high risk sex offenders. Each Circle involves 4-6 trained volunteers from the community forming a "Circle of Support and Accountability" around an ex-offender (Core Member). The primary aim of COSA is "no more victims." The Circle meets together regularly as the Core Member transitions into the community, providing practical, physical, emotional, and spiritual support for the Core Member along with holding him accountable for safe living.
COSA was originally developed in Ontario, Canada in 1994. Experience and research across Canada has shown that providing support for sex offenders while holding them accountable is very effective in creating safe communities and in assisting ex-offenders to lead productive lives. The 2007 study showed that COSA participants had 83% less sexual reoffending than the matched comparison group.
If you are interested in participating call the program director, Clare Ann Ruth-Heffelbower, at 559-453-3448. COSA is housed in the Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies of Fresno Pacific University. Dr. Ruth-Heffelbower is also available for public presentations on COSA.
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