Canada funding rehabilitation for convicted sex offenders

The Canadian government is to hand millions of dollars to an organisation that provides rehabilitation to people who have been spent time in prison for sexual offences.

The Ministry of Public Safety will be giving $7.48 million (£5.76 million) to the Circle of Support and Accountability (CoSA) National Capacity Project.

The organisation “allows the community to play a direct role in the restoration, reintegration, and risk management of people who are often seen with only fear and anger”.

It works mainly with ex-offenders who have committed one or more sexual offences. 

By providing a support network, called the “Circle”’, and meeting with people who have committed serious sexual offences, they hope to prevent them from re-offending.

Participants of the program are also given help to access medical services, social assistance, seeking employment and affordable housing. 

David Byrne, chair of CoSA’s board of directors said: “CoSA Canada is committed to making communities safer for all Canadians”.

Director Byrne claims that attending Circles has been shown to reduce the likelihood of re-offending by more than 70 per cent.

Data from CoSA confirms that recidivism rates over five years were much lower – 5.6 per cent in comparison to 22 per cent of former offenders not participating in the programme.

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale said providing funding for the programme “demonstrates [Canada’s] commitment to evidence-based criminal justice policy”. 

The money will go to 14 CoSA sites across the country. 

Mr Goodale said he was confident in the programme. saying: “This project will help reduce victimisation…by holding ex-offenders accountable for their actions and giving them the support they need to become responsible and productive members of society.”

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