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Evaluability Assessments of the Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) Model, Site Report: COSA Durham

NCJ Number
Ian A. Elliott, Ph.D.; Gary Zajac, Ph.D.; Courtney A. Meyer, M.A.
Date Published
July 2013
27 pages
This study identified issues that should be considered in an evaluation design for Durham's (North Carolina) Circles of Support and Accountability, a restorative justice-based community reentry program for high-risk sex offenders with little or no pro-social community support.
In order to assess the readiness and suitability of the Durham COSA for evaluation, this assessment clarified program intent, explored the program's current status, determined the program's data capacity, analyzed program fidelity, and proposed potential evaluation designs for future evaluation. At the time of the site visit, Durham's COSA was in the program development stage and not operating any Circles. The assessment awarded it a fidelity score of 24 percent, meaning that it has much left to do in creating a definitive program model that reflects the general model first used by the Correctional Services of Canada. Durham's anticipated COSA model appears to deviate from the intended model in one key feature. Selected "core members" many not have fully completed their sentences, and all released sex offenders are subject to 5 years of post-release supervision. It was not possible to assess data management, because the project is still in development. The primary obstacle to evaluation is that the site is currently operating at very low capacity; however, the project is well-resourced financially and with personnel. At this time, however, Durham's COSA is not at sufficient development and capacity to contribute to a rigorous evaluation. 2 figures and 15 references