City of Burlington, Vermont City of Burlington, Vermont

Burlington Community Justice Center
200 Church Street, Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 865-7155
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Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA)

Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA)

Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) is a reentry program based on a successful international restorative justice model of assisting serious offenders to reintegrate into their communities. Trained COSA volunteers work in teams of three to five and meet weekly with the core member to support him/her in returning to the community and managing everyday living.  This includes:

  • following the supervision rules set by the Department of Corrections.
  • acting in ways that do not hurt others.
  • taking responsibility for one's actions by making amends for past offenses.
  • getting help for mental or emotional problems such as addictions, depression, or learning disabilities.
  • practicing productive new attitudes and behaviors.
  • arranging for transportation needs.
  • finding a job.
  • creating and living within a budget.
  • developing constructive solutions to problems.
  • planning for the future.

The mission of a COSA is to enhance community safety and repair relationships by supporting core members to successfully rejoin the community and commit no further offenses.   The COSA circle helps the core member take the learning and self-awareness gained from treatment and utilize it in everyday life. Additionally, the circle will hold the core member accountable for adherence to post-release expectations and for developing healthy relationships. As the core member grows and rebuilds community connections, the circle will represent the needs of the community in relationship to those of the core member.

Benefits:

The COSA program will provide a restorative approach to justice by supporting, building and maintaining healthy patterns of living for offenders as they reenter the community.  The circle represents a bond of mutual respect, understanding, and ownership in the process.  Volunteers are essential in sharing wisdom and for core members to build on the life experience of others.  The diversity amongst COSA circles in their thinking, age, experience, and perspective are a representation of the community at large and present opportunities to relate to this diversity

For more information about COSA contact Stuart Recicar at (802) 540-1719 or via email srecicar@burlingtonvt.gov