Men and women face many obstacles upon release from prison. More…
Micah staff and volunteers meet with formerly incarcerated people through two programs:
Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) and Community Chaplaincy.
Circles of Support & Accountability (CoSA)
Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) supports people who have offended sexually and who have been released from prison. CoSA seeks to reduce the risk of re-offending and to ease an offender’s transition into the community.
Community volunteers come alongside offenders to help them lead healthy and law-abiding lives, offering friendship, support and accountability with a commitment to no more victims. Offenders agree to living responsibly and being accountable for their behavior.
CoSAs are small groups. In most cases (but not always) each group has one Core member (the offender) matched with volunteers. The circles typically meet on a weekly basis.
What do we Ask of a Core Member?
A commitment not to re-offend in any way.
A commitment to being honest with the CoSA. In turn, volunteers commit to being honest with the Core member.
A thorough awareness of the Core member’s offense cycle, and a willingness to discuss it with the CoSA.
A commitment to take responsibility and to be accountable for personal actions.
To live by an conditions set by police or the courts.
Upon agreement with these conditions the Core member and CoSA volunteers prepare a covenant, or contract, to be signed by all parties.
What’s Vital to Success?
Meeting regularly with the CoSA to develop a bond of friendship.
Walking with Core members through times of crisis.
Assisting Core members, as needed, to access suitable housing, employment, etc.
Confronting Core members about inappropriate attitude and behavoir.
Advocating for Core members and mediation with various systems to support transition from prison. CoSAs work collaboratively with police, probation, parole, neighbourhood groups and treatment professionals.
Celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, achievements and milestones in the Core member’s journey of community integration.
Do the Circles Work?
Close supporting relationships decrease the risk of relapse in child molesters and rapists, according to Grubin (1997)*.
Circles help the core member establish a stable lifestyle. Offenders with domestic stable housing and social support are less likely to commit new offenses compared to those offenders who lack such stability, as reported by Lane Council of Governments (2003).**
Wilson, Picheca and Prinzo, in their study of CoSAs across Canada showed that high risk offenders participating in CoSA Circles were 83% less likely to re-offend than high risk offenders with CoSA.***
Listen to a radio interview with Dr. Robin Wilson about offending and the efficacy of CoSAs (click here).****
*Grubin, D. 1997. Predictors of Risk in Serious Sex Offenders. British Journal of Psychiatry. 170 (Suppl.), 17-21.
**Lane Council of Governments. 2003. Managing Sex Offenders in the Community: A National Overview, Eugene Oregon.
***Wilson, Picheca and Prinzo. 2015. Circles of Support and Accountability: An evaluation of the Pilot Project in South-Central Ontario.
**** Wilson, Robin. 2011. Radio Interview with Robin Wilson about sexual murder of Jayce Dugard. San Francisco Public Radio.
Micah visits faith communities and engages support from within those communities, to help persons who have been incarcerated and are seeking to reintegrate back into society.