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Good news from Canada on Circles of Support and Accountability

Oct 12, 2009

from Bruce Cheadle's article in The Canadian Press:

The Harper government has agreed to fund a program aimed at keeping convicted sex offenders from committing more crimes - apparently reversing an earlier rejection of the acclaimed project.

Some $7.4 million in federal funding will be provided over five years for Circles of Support and Accountability, the office of Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan confirmed Thursday.

"By deciding today to fund this program, our government is taking concrete action to make our communities safer," spokesman Chris McCluskey said in an email.

The five-year deal will help the largely volunteer organization double the number of sex offenders in the program to about 300 next year, and more closely monitor results to determine what works best with offenders once they've served their sentences.

"We got the thumbs up," Andrew McWhinnie, the national co-ordinator of the 15-year-old program, told The Canadian Press.

He'd originally been informed that the funding application had been spiked by the minister's office after getting bureaucratic approval.

McWhinnie credits news coverage of that rejection for reversing the decision: "Had we not gone the public route, we probably still would be dead in the water today."

McCluskey insisted no decision was taken until Thursday. But he conceded that McWhinnie did have the wording of a rejection letter read to him over the phone almost two weeks ago by non-plussed officials at the National Centre for Crime Prevention, which Van Loan oversees.

"The director of the National Crime Prevention Centre was not speaking for the minister," McCluskey said.

Read the whole article.

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Edward Ricca
Edward Ricca says:
Apr 23, 2010 06:01 PM

See below EM I sent Dr. Robin Wilson. I have not had a response. Your input would be appreciated. My EM is <a href="&#0109;ailto&#0058;edward.ricca&#0064;">edward.ricca&#0064;</a> <br /> <br />I was at and appreciated your presentation on Circles of Support in Virginia on 3/5/10. I am currently on a Homelessness Task Force trying to come up with strategies in dealing with homeless sex offenders. Your presentation resonated with me any many others as a useful strategy. Our community corrections committee is currently coming up with a education campaign and part of that is determining who the stakeholders are that we need to target to educate civic and religious leaders about this issue.. Ironically I graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and attend a Mennonite Church. It seemed like many of your stakeholders have the same affiliation although we don't want to limit ourselves here. <br /> <br />Here in Virginia especially in more rural area we have a very hard time with this issue of homelessness with sex offenders. HUD housing, homeless shelters and a ever increasing amount of landlords will not accept sex offenders.. We end up using emergency funds to put offenders at a local motel which is not a good situation. I recently had a offender who violated because he was giving a 12 year old boy alcohol and watching pornography with him. Another who New York state denied a transfer on due to strict proximity laws would not accept a plan to his family. As I was driving him to the motel I asked him what his triggers were and he advised isolation and loneliness. We were putting him up in a motel in a community where he knew nobody. <br /> <br />I wanted to get further information from you about creating a Circles of Accountability Project in Virginia but also about the issue of homelessness. I was curious about the examples you cited in Canada and how those individuals were housed? I have one offender who was approved for conditional release after being deemed a violent sexual predator after numerous home plans were denied. He has since been civilly committed because he has no home plan. His extended family is in Ohio and civil commitment cases cannot be transferred. Also with the much publicized sex offenders under the bridge in Miami your insights on this issue would be appreciated. Were the &quot;Circles&quot; ever part of handling such situations? Could I have the e-mail address of the Mennonite minister you mentioned in your presentation as another possible resource? Other questions I had were about the logistics of starting a circles&quot; and the extent of the training of the &quot;circles&quot; volunteers. <br /> <br />You also mentioned that &quot;circles&quot; work a lot better in populated areas. This seems like a potential stumbling block here in Virginia as populated probation districts have frowned on taking other districts offenders. My particular district is in the Shenandoah Valley and is more rural but does have a large Mennonite community and several universities. Your insights and feedback would be appreciated. Please feel free to call or respond to this EM. Thanks. <br /> <br />Edward Ricca <br />Senior Probation and Parole Officer <br />District 12 540-332-7780 ext. 117

Steven Yoon
Steven Yoon says:
Sep 19, 2010 04:12 PM

Good Morning, <br /> <br />On September 20, 2010 our Canadian government is coming back from summer recess. When they do they're going to decide on two pieces of legislation. The first will prevent former sex offenders from receiving a pardon- ever. The second will affect the registry- they will, among other things, notify other countries that former sexual offenders are traveling to them, they can use the registry to 'solve crimes proactively' (which means they can do pretty much anything to anyone on a registry as long as it is used to investigate possible crimes, etc, etc. <br /> <br />We are hoping that the Prison Justice Day Committee would provide its support to the opposition of the proposed legislation by writing directly to four Canadian politicians (<a href="&#0109;ailto&#0058;raeb&#0064;">raeb&#0064;</a>, <a href="&#0109;ailto&#0058;Harper.S&#0064;">Harper.S&#0064;</a>, <a href="&#0109;ailto&#0058;Ignatieff.M&#0064;">Ignatieff.M&#0064;</a>, <a href="&#0109;ailto&#0058;Layton.J&#0064;">Layton.J&#0064;</a>, <a href="&#0109;ailto&#0058;Duceppe.G&#0064;">Duceppe.G&#0064;</a>, <a href="&#0109;ailto&#0058;cmteweb&#0064;">cmteweb&#0064;</a>) and asking those politicians not to support the bills. Please feel free to write your own comment or you can use our suggestion: <br /> <br />&quot;Research has clearly proven that Bill C-23b and Bill S-2 will do nothing to enhance security and will likely prevent reintegration and thus increase recidivism of former offenders. As such Canadians politicians from all political parties should oppose these bills&quot;. <br /> <br />If we are successful then Canada can continue to serve as an example to other countries how ex-offenders can be treated fairly (which used to be the case). Would you be willing to help us? <br /> <br />Please take just a few minutes to examine the wealth of information presented on our website. We are certain that after doing so you will agree with us that, for the benefit of all Canadians, these bills must be strenuously opposed. <br /> <br />We sincerely thank you in advance for your assistance! <br /> <br />Canadians for a Just Society <br /><a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>

Garry says:
Jan 15, 2014 08:03 PM

If you want to look at this behavior as a mental deficiency/illness and as abnormal sexual behavior where do the problems stem from? Is there anyone anywhere in the world that is researching and making headway into the "mind" of what these people are doing? I know there are hardcore pedophiles out there that are a risk, but there are also those who have done their time in jail, done their programs, and in many cases take medication to help them with their urges. Not everyone who has been a sex offender wants to continue that type of life. Many want to learn why it happens, and understand that they made the wrong choice when they abused a child. Not only are they shamed within their family and friends, they are shamed in public for years on end! You wonder why some of these people leave the country, or disappear? Do they ever see an end? Do the victims see an end? Do they rise above the abuse and become stronger? Or do they remain victims and blame the abuser for ever and a day. Human behavior is not always pretty. If gambling addicts, sex addicts, drug addicts, alcohol addicts, pornography addicts,ragealholics,women abusers, animal abusers, spending addicts,there should be help for everyone, and a place for those who are thinking or scared that they might offend to get help!

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