The Centre for the Study of Science, Religion and Society (CSSRS) will host an upcoming seminar by QUT’s Dr Kelly Richards from 12-2pm on Friday 7th August 2015.
This presentation will use the practice of Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) as a case study to consider the competing paradigms of risk and restoration in the criminal justice sphere. CoSA are an innovative justice measure that use trained volunteers to support convicted child sex offenders to be reintegrated into communities following their release from prison. While CoSA have long been established in other jurisdictions including Canada, the UK, Europe, New Zealand, and parts of the USA, the first Australian pilot was only announced in March 2015.
CoSA are typically couched as a “restorative justice” practice, partly due to the shared roots of these phenomena in the Mennonite and Quaker faiths. Certainly, they share some key characteristics, including a focus on rejecting an offender’s acts rather than the offender him/herself. However, CoSA primarily seek to reduce the risk that convicted child sex offenders pose to the community, rather than repair the harm that these offenders have caused. CoSA therefore exist in the somewhat awkward space between risk and restoration. This presentation examines this context and positions this as a strength rather than weakness of the CoSA model.
For more information and to RSVP to the event, please click here.