The Promise and Potential of Circles of Support and Accountability: A Sex Offender Reentry Program


Key Points

Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), whose goal is “no more victims,” provides sex offenders released from prison with pro-social support as they return to society and emphasizes accountability by insisting that offenders accept responsibility for their actions.

Findings from a CoSA program in cshowed that the program significantly reduced sex offense recidivism, lowering the risk of rearrest for a new sex offense by 88 percent.

By helping sex offenders successfully transition from prison to the community, CoSA prevents individuals from being victims of crime, including sex offenses.

Read the full report or the brief



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If this treatment can be implimented to the felons with over a 12% recidivism rate… I’m not even being facetious. Drunk drivers with priors are killing people around here. A family burned to death. The mother got out but couldn’t help. Perp had priors for dwi. Tons more loved ones slaughtered by repeat dwi. And the domestic violence and beatings are extremely repetitive & numerous in our county… but after conviction, extremely, extremely lengthy therapy & rehab for sex offenders only. Do I complain too much?

It doesn’t, you have a bad attitude! Be proactive, rather than reactive. I keep hearing people complain and complain, but I rarely hear ideas or suggestions to resolve issues? We have truly moved forward, but we still have a ways to go! This idea is truly wonderful. Many European Countries/Scandinavian countries have a different view on how to successfully treat and integrate people back to society. The US always has or wants to portray themselves as both a fair and humane country. Yet, what do we do for released prisoners? We almost set them up for failure. Society needs to wake up and realize rehabalitation exists and we need to change our ways, if we want people to succeed.

I always question the premise of the research and analysis of any organization advertising the benefits of their services. For what it’s worth, my observations of CoSA:

1) The overwhelming majority of registrants entered guilty pleas, thus have accepted responsibility.

2) CoSA appears predicated on the mistaken presumption that sexual re-offense among RSOs is inevitable without “treatment.” The overstated finding of DOJ that released SOs are four times as likely to commit another sex offense as other classes of released felons doesn’t change the fact that no state reports more than 1% of registrants being arrested for another sex offense, a documented fact consistently ignored. (Personal note: I don’t see a need to distinguish arrest and conviction in this instance. If an RSO is arrested for another bona fide sex offense, conviction is all but certain)

3) The control group in this research were other program participants – see page 5 of the full report – and even then found no significant difference in sexual recidivism between the evaluated and control group (page 6). Conspicuously absent is a comparison between program participants and non-participants.

4) Any claim of affecting “risk” is dubious from the start. Predicting the future conduct of an individual is impossible for all but the individual (and even then, not always accurate). Risk assessments are nothing more than an illusion of accuracy no matter what the outcome.

I don’t deny that there are those that do need help regarding mental health. What I oppose is the presumption that all RSOs require it and the behavior modification model is the best way to treat it.