Program for sex offenders won't get funding cuts after all
The head of Circles of Support and Accountability in southern Saskatchewan, a support group for sexual offenders, says he's happy the program won't lose its funding.
The federal government reversed its decision to cut $650,000 for the program across Canada.
Otto Driedger says the group is an important support for offenders coming out of prison. It helps them find ways to integrate back into the community.
"They are the most serious people to come out and generally they have been in prison between 10 and 30 years...and when they come out, they generally don't have any contacts in the community and their family has usually disowned them and nobody in the community wants them," said Driedger.
"If they want to go straight, they have a number of strikes against them. So we're developing a circle of support and accountability."
Driedger says there are 15 support circles in Regina, six in Saskatoon and two are being developed in Prince Albert. Forty volunteers work with these circles.
"If this funding had not come through, then we would have most likely continued but had a very much restricted kind of a service," he said.
The Regina group receives $25,000 in funding from the government. Driedger says the groups also receive money from churches in the province. The Saskatchewan government also provides a small grant for each person who is still on probation when entering the circle.
Driedger said the circles are based on friendship, support and accountability. He said the circles try to help prevent people from re-offending.
"As you know with friends what one does is if they need support for getting a job, or getting a place to live...that is part of being friends," he said. "Friends also, if they're good friends, will also hold you accountable if you're moving back into doing things that you shouldn't do."