Essex Community Justice Center & Circle of Support & Accountability (COSA) Program
Jul 25, 2018 12:00 PM
Jill Evans, Ex. Dir., Essex Community Justice Ctr.
Essex Community Justice Center & Circle of Support & Accountability (COSA) Program

Earlier this year, Essex Rotary member Penny Pilsbury asked about a presentation that focuses on COSA (Circle of Support & Accountability).  It turns out that the Essex Community Justice Center uses a COSA program to address a restorative justice.

The Circle of Support and Accountability (COSA) is an evidence-based model of engaging with someone who is coming out of incarceration, who wants to change and be a law-abiding citizen and who is at risk to re-offend because of a lack of support from friends, family, and their community.  The primary focus of a Circle of Support and Accountability is “no more victims.”  A COSA team includes 3-5 community volunteers and a CJC staff member.  This team meets with the offender (called a “core member”) weekly to support and hold them accountable.  These conversations may include talking about daily struggles, anticipating challenges, and providing role modeling of behavior and positive activities.  Volunteers, over time and after building trust, may engage in one on one mentoring activities with a core member if appropriate. 

Since 2003, the Essex Community Justice Center has provided restorative justice programming with a focus on crime prevention, conflict resolution and meeting the needs of those affected by crime.  Through multiple programs, the Community Justice Center staff and local volunteers support victims, address local crime, and work with offenders to lower their risk of recidivism and enhance community safety. The Essex Community Justice Center is funded through grants to the Town of Essex by the Department of Corrections, Agency of Human Resources and through donations from community members.  The Essex Community Justice Center serves Essex, Essex Junction, Westford, Underhill, Jericho, Colchester and Milton.

Community Advisory Board

The Community Advisory Board (CAB) provides community voice and perspective to the ECJC. The CAB supports staff and volunteers in the growth and development of: programs; policies; and procedures.  The work of the CAB is focused in 4 areas;

  • Program Development
  • Outreach and Communications
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Support