Calgary group fights cuts to high-risk offenders program

A volunteer group in Calgary says it will fight a federal government decision to cut funding for a program which helps high-risk offenders when they are released from prison.

Volunteer group says loss of funding puts communities at risk

Volunteers in Calgary with a group that helps high-risk offenders are promising to fight federal funding cuts that they say put the community at risk.

Members of Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) help newly-released prisoners with rent, food and finding a job, as well as with social and moral support. 

The Correctional Service of Canada is ending the $650,000 annual contract for the COSA groups across the country at the end of the month.

Moira Brownlee, with the Calgary branch, said cutting the program is short-sighted and the volunteers will fight to keep the program alive.

"We have to think of the safety of our community and we're not going to put the community at risk because of some bureaucratic funding cut," she said. "We just refuse to."

According to Brownlee, the group has helped about 40 mostly sex-crime related prisoners in the Calgary area. She said studies have found rates of reoffending are reduced when the offenders have access to the program.

Brownlee said the Calgary chapter will look elsewhere for the $25,000 it needs to continue its work and will continue to support the people they work with now.