Circles of Support and Accountability is a highly successful program designed to help prevent recidivism among convicted sex offenders who have served their time in prison. The program matches sex offenders who have been released from prison with a group of trained volunteers known as the circle. The circle provides practical and emotional support to the offender, while also challenging problematic behaviours and attitudes that might lead to them reoffending.
Studies have found a reduction in recidivism rate between 70 to 83%, and that for every $1 invested in the program it saved the legal system $4.60. The model has been adopted by several other countries.
Despite all this, as of March 31, will be cutting funding to all programs except three which currently have 3 years left on the contract.
If this sounds familiar, it's because the funding was also cut last year, only to be restored after a public outcry. Last year the reason given for the cuts was bureaucratic: Corrections funds programs that support people who are serving sentences, and the circles come after someone has served their sentence.
Time to email my MP again. Last time I got a quick response, where he expressed his support for the program, but then my MP is one of the last of the Red Tories. I suspect that members of the Harper Government don't like the program because they favour a punitive approach to Corrections.