COSA Looking for Volunteers

cosaST. JOHNSBURY- The Community Restorative Justice Center is seeking out more volunteers for their Circles of Support and Accountability Program.

COSA is a program that works with offenders that have a high-risk of going back to prison after being released.
Susan Cherry, Director of the Community Restorative Justice Center, refers to the people incarcerated as the "core members" of the COSA teams.


"When somebody is incarcerated and coming back into the community, we're also looking at what the community wants. How are we going to hold them accountable to keep our community safe? And how do we create that sense of "we want you here, we think you should be here, and let's find a way for you to give back to your community.""

Cherry says that this program has helped keep people from re-entering prison, and that many of the cases they have seen are people who don't have a big support system in the area.

"There are certain cases where the reason they get referred to a COSA initially because there's not as much support. We'd love to do a COSA with everybody who's coming back to the community, we'd love to have that capacity. Right now we only see the high-risk cases; high risk to re-offend. People who have had a history of going right back because of a violation that was a condition of their release or because they created a new offense."

The Community Restorative Justice Center is about community and helping others become involved in it. "We're not about judging, we're not about saying 'you're a bad person' we say 'what now can you do to repair the harm? To make things right, what can you do to show people that nots who you really are?'"

Cherry says the road to rejoining the community is all about invitation and they try to invite that process through COSA. Volunteers for people who have experienced trauma in their lives can be vulnerable,and they want to assure them that no one will take advantage of that.
Anyone who interested in joining can learn more information at 802-748-2977 or at