Journal of Experimental Criminology

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 463–484 | Cite as

Can circles of support and accountability (CoSA) significantly reduce sexual recidivism? Results from a randomized controlled trial in Minnesota

  • Grant DuweEmail author



This study evaluates the effectiveness of Minnesota Circles of Support and Accountability (MnCOSA), a sex offender reentry program implemented by the Minnesota Department of Corrections in 2008.


Using a randomized controlled trial, this study compares recidivism and cost–benefit outcomes among sex offenders in the MnCOSA (N = 50) and control groups (N = 50).


The results suggest MnCOSA significantly reduced sexual recidivism, lowering the risk of rearrest for a new sex offense by 88%. In addition, MnCOSA significantly decreased all four measures of general recidivism, with reductions ranging in size from 49 to 57%. As a result of the reduction in recidivism, findings from the cost–benefit analysis reveal the program has generated an estimated $2 million in costs avoided to the state, resulting in a benefit of $40,923 per participant. For every dollar spent on MnCOSA, the program has yielded an estimated benefit of $3.73.


Although difficult to implement, the CoSA model is a cost-effective intervention for sex offenders that could also be applied to other correctional populations with a high risk of violent recidivism.


Sex offender Recidivism Social support Cost–benefit Restorative justice 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Minnesota Department of CorrectionsSt. PaulUSA

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