Churches and Sex Offenders

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly had an interesting report about Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) started by Canadian churches, which “wants to create a new model for how society deals with sex offenders by offering the offenders help and friendship.”  The sessions try to help the offenders to frankly face what they did, so it’s not simply about making people feel good.  According to the report, “a recent study of COSA in Canada showed a sharp decline in recidivism rates among sex offenders involved in the program.”

No doubt many of the churches in the program are more on the liberal end of the spectrum but I wonder if this is something that more theologically-traditional Christians can learn from (if they haven’t already) and then place the gospel at the center of it.

Here was a striking illustration of the problem in California:

There are more than 700,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, with more than 100,000 of them living in California. In California, like other states, paroled offenders are required to wear GPS ankle bracelets. Offenders must also follow strict residency restrictions, preventing them from living within 2,000 feet of schools and parks. Unable to find apartments that don’t violate the residency restrictions, many men have wound up on the streets, creating entire tent cities of sex offenders.

© 2010, Scott Kistler. All rights reserved.


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