Tuesday, October 7, 2014

CANADA - Sex offender supports on a shoestring

Susan Love & Adina Ilea
Susan Love & Adina Ilea
Original Article


By Erin McCracken

The day the doors to David’s prison cell slid open and he was free after spending five and a half years behind bars for sex crimes against children, he was given a one-way ticket to Ottawa and placed on a bus.

Armed only with expired identification, a little cash earned inside prison and two boxes and a bag containing his few possessions, David arrived in the city with limited prospects.

The challenges he faced reintegrating in society were enormous. There would be hurdles in finding a job and stable housing, securing money and proper identification and abiding by strict supervision rules that kicked in upon his release.

It had been almost six years,” said David, speaking under a pseudonym to protect his identity. “It was overwhelming. Scary, because you’re coming out into society and it’s open, it’s freedom.”

So it was difficult at first, but eventually you blend into it.”

The key to blending in, in part, proved to be two smiling women who met him at the bus stop as planned, – his first introduction to a surrogate network of friends and family who wanted to help him rebuild his life, and in the process, ensure he would not reoffend.

They are among more than 50 volunteers with Circles of Support and Accountability-Ottawa, one of 20 CoSA programs across Canada through which 500 volunteers are helping nearly 200 high-risk, high-needs sex offenders reintegrate in society after prison.

At first I didn’t know what to do. I have no social life,” said David. “There was a bit of boredom, a bit of loneliness, but I was able to talk to CoSA about it.”

Each week, he met with his group of four volunteers to talk about his issues, and spent one-on-one time with each of them by going out for coffee, or watching a movie.

They provided him with friendship and support, referring him to services in the city that could help him.

Positive social supports, experts say, combined with sexual-behaviour counselling and treatment, are key to ensuring former offenders such as David do not fall back into their old patterns, leading to more victims.

After almost a year with CoSA, David seemed to be doing well. He had stable housing at a halfway house for ex-inmates and was taking part in a counselling program there. He had found work.


Jason Sanders said...

Welcome back! Nice to see you posting again!

Jason Sanders said...

Its idiots like this that keep these people from reintegration into society.

Jason Sanders said...

Perhaps if the human race were not so filled with fear, hate, revenge, the mind set of irrevocable unforgiveness against sexual offenders, David may have had it just a little easier.

Jason Sanders said...

This article reminds me of an old song that goes like this in part" "Hey Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand?" With everything that life offers, good ol Joe decides to sit behind his computer and pick on some sex offender. Congratulations Joe! For it is humans like you that expose the irrevocable stupidity, hate, and just plain psychopathic behavior you so vehemently seemingly detest . Good work on your own self exposure.

Jason Sanders said...

Virginia is probably one of the worst Commonwealth's anyone wants to be convicted of pertaining to sexual exploits for sure. Old Joe is in for the run for his life and may very well not fair too well in a Virginia prison.

Jason Sanders said...

Hmmm. . . Maybe Chad has a slightly different problem than trying to follow an imaginary state law. . . .

Jason Sanders said...

I'm sure he was threatened by the deputy to do as he said or face arrest for non compliance of sex offender registration laws

Jason Sanders said...

I live in Virginia and sure people are up in the air about sex crimes and when a former police officer run's a foul than people want to throw the book at him and almost bury him under the jail.
There is another punishment and maybe the commonwealth should look into this and that's banishment. Locking a person up does nobody any good.
One talks about outcasts, are the prison's a safe haven for all the outcasts that commit sex crimes? Are the people of Virginia suppose to foot the bill?
Sure its easy for a judge to just lock them up and throw away the key but than were does any form of rehabilitation come into play. Do prison's rehabilitate or do they debilitate one? Punishment does not rehabilitate anyone only the person inside himself can rehabilitate himself.