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 In Action

Circles of Support and Accountability Video

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.


This video to the right shows Canada's CoSA in action.

You can see more at their CoSA website.

Below is Vermont's CoSA in action.

JAN 3, 2014 • (c) Vermont Public Radio

Forty percent of the people who are released from prison end up going back there.

What does it take to keep people from re-offending?

On Vermont Edition we'll talk about a Department of Corrections program that puts community volunteers and high-risk offenders together. It's called Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) and Vermont is one of only two states to use this model. We'll talk to Derek Miodownik, the Community & Restorative Justice Executive for the Vermont Department of Corrections, and Kathy Fox, an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Vermont.

Play the Podcast.