Started by the Mennonite Church in Canada and taken up by the Quakers here, at its simplest volunteers become the social support group for those offenders released from prison. My impression is that it works almost by social shame, or the desire not to let down those in that new social circle.
However is does work in detail, on the larger scale it works incredibly well. Reoffending rates are usually something like 70%. Of the 49 who have joined those Quaker run programmes in this country, not one has reoffended.
It works, which is really something rather wonderful.
But I have to admit to a certain sadness at this news:
Now, with further Government funding, Circles is expanding across the UK, with the Quakers taking a back seat. This is no longer a faith-based initiative, with volunteers presenting from all strands of society.
Yes, I\’m afraid that I\’m a terrible cynic. I just worry that something which moves from being embedded in a local community (and works precisely because of that) will turn completely to shit when run nationally by the State.
Turning to other matters:
According to the most recent study, between 16% and 20% of all children in this country experience some form of sexual assault before they reach the age of 16.
No, sorry, I don\’t believe that at all. Not unless we\’re using so wide a definition of "sexual assault" as to be meaningless.