Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $179,890)
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (AWA) (Pub. L. 109-248, 42 U.S.C. § 16901, et seq) authorizes the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) to administer sex offender management grants. Section 637 of the Act authorizes the Department of Justice to conduct sex offender risk assessment studies, including analysis of assessment tools.
The Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) model is a supervision strategy involving the use of community volunteers to provide support to an individual sex offender. COSA assists offenders with garnering community resources, while holding them accountable to their self-monitoring plan, typically following completion of legal supervision. This program was first developed in Canada and has since been implemented in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. Research studies of COSA, thus far, have demonstrated positive results in Canada and the UK.
The County of Durham is planning to implement a successful Circles of Support and Accountability program. Current problems faced by the community involve safety concerns of the victim about the person committing new crimes, community concerns for safety and social cohesion, and practical concerns of the offender trying to survive in a legally, economically, and socially hostile environment. The County of Durham plans to increase community support for sex offenders' difficult path of re-integration into the community, and develop and increase citizen buy-in for a restorative justice approach to community supervision of sex offenders. The plan is to: (1) provide information sessions monthly to various community, civic, and faith based groups; (2) establish five Circles by the end of the first year; and (3) establish five additional Circles by the end of the second year, incorporating surrounding counties.