MNCOSA (Minnesota Circles of Support and Accountability)
Agency Description: Minnesota Circles of Support and Accountability (MnCoSA) is offered through the Minnesota Department of Corrections.
Position description: MnCoSA is based on a successful, internationally-recognized restorative justice model. This opportunity requires a 1 year commitment. A Circle is made up of Circle Members (volunteers) and a Core Member (released individual convicted of a sexual offense).
Circle Member volunteers work in teams of 4-6 with a Core Member and are trained and supported by an Outer Circle of professionals. Circles meet regularly to provide support to the Core Member as s/he begins to lead a responsible, productive, and accountable life while working on reintegration into the community (finding housing, employment, transportation, medical assistance, mental/chemical health care, friendship, and acceptance).
• This volunteer opportunity focuses on the successful transition from prison to community for the selected Core Member. As a volunteer, you can expect to interact with Department of Corrections (DOC) professionals, Supervision Agents, and various direct service providers in the community to address the Core Member's barriers to reentry.
• Volunteers receive approximately 18 hours of free training prior to beginning circle. Circles start meeting in a correctional facility and then transition out to the community. DOC staff supervision is provided during the time spent in facility, and DOC support is provided throughout the year.
• Each MnCoSA Circle lasts approximately one year, with weekly 1-2 hour meetings attended by all MnCoSA members, including the Core Member. Groups typically meet less frequently over time.
• Circles are held in either Ramsey or Hennepin County, depending on the Core Member's release plan.
• Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, be willing to undergo a criminal background check, and cannot be on a current offender's visiting list. Further application criteria can be found on the application form.
We also have two other CoSA programs; On Your Feet! which works with incarcerated individuals with veteran status regardless of offense history; and COLUMNS, which works with life term offenders who have been granted parole.
How to apply:
Contact CoSA staff at 651-361-7648 or COSAPrograms.DOC@state.mn.us to acquire an application form.