Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $101,430)
The purpose of this research is to conduct an evaluability assessment of the Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) reentry program across up to five sites in the U.S. The goal of COSA is to enhance community safety by promoting the successful integration of offenders back into the community though support, advocacy, and meaningful accountability. It is estimated that around 700,000 offenders are released back into US communities each year, many of whom will reoffend and return to prison. The release of sex offenders into the community is of particular concern for criminal justice agencies and the general public alike, due to the negative outcomes related to sexual victimization. The criminal justice response to sex offender reentry has been typically punitive in nature, with enhanced notification and residency restrictions. In the midst of increasing sanctions however, there is also a growing interest in restorative justice approaches with the sex offender population - approaches that aim to increase public safety through reconciliatory action between offenders, victims and the community.
In order to establish the evaluability of COSA projects in the U.S., this research will assess the ability of up to five sites to participate in future process and outcome evaluation. The COSA sites will be assessed by: (1) mapping the COSA logic model in theory and identifying intended operations; (2) examining COSA program implementation in practice; (3) examining the capacity for data collection, management and analysis; (4) assessing the congruence between the theoretical intended program and actual program operations; and (5) drawing conclusions regarding site readiness for evaluation activities, potential challenges to evaluation, and recommended evaluation designs. A series of structured implementation fidelity measures will guide the evaluability assessment, investigating both the espoused model and the model-in-practice. These measures include assessments of processes related to program fidelity, such as management structure, staff composition, Core Member processes, volunteer processes, and circle procedures. Data capacity assessments will focus on the quality of data systems, local and legal restrictions, and the availability of data related to the Core Member, assessment, circle structure, circle outcomes, societal outcomes and costs. The deliverables for this project include a comprehensive report outlining individual evaluability assessments for each site, global conclusions related to the ability of the sites to contribute to a large-scale evaluation, and recommendations related to the feasibility and design of such an evaluation.ca/ncf