Circles of support and accountability (COSA) in Scotland: practice, progress and questions

Armstrong, S. and Wills, D. (2014) Circles of support and accountability (COSA) in Scotland: practice, progress and questions. Scottish Journal of Criminal Justice Studies, 20, pp. 2-13.

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Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) are an innovative, volunteer-based means of supervising sex offenders, usually upon release from prison. Volunteers are recruited from the community, trained and then meet as a group with, thereby forming a ‘circle’ around, the ‘core member’, the person with sexual convictions. This model has been in operation in various parts of England and Wales since the early 2000s and more recently has become available in Scotland through the work of Sacro, a voluntary sector organisation. In this article, we introduce the COSA concept and its development in the UK and in Scotland, and summarise research we conducted in Fife to evaluate its progress so far. We also identify some key issues around COSA including the role of communities in criminal justice, sustainability issues, the challenges of evaluation in this area and possible future directions of Circles in Scotland.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:COSA, circles of support and accountability, Scotland.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Armstrong, Professor Sarah
Authors: Armstrong, S., and Wills, D.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Scottish Journal of Criminal Justice Studies
Publisher:The Scottish Association for the Study of Offending

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