Ed Tubb | Hillman Foundation

2016 Honourable Mention

Ed Tubb
The Walrus

A pedophile named Charlie Taylor was given a 100 per cent risk of reoffending upon leaving Warkworth prison in 1994, and yet he did so without any supervision whatsoever. He was free, his sentence was over and everyone agreed he would do it again.

That he didn’t immediately, and didn’t before his death 15 years later, is largely thanks to a man named Harry Nigh and the remarkable people who run Circles of Support and Accountability, or CoSA, a largely volunteer-run support program that reduces the reoffending rates of dangerous child sex offenders by upwards of 80 per cent, according to several studies, at a very low cost.

“Minding the Monster,” the product of a year of reporting, investigates a series of federal cuts to CoSA. It draws us into a world few Canadians know about even as the issue of releasing convicted pedophiles is much debated.

At its peak, CoSA worked with around 150 men in 18 Canadian cities at a cost of $2.5 million annually. (By way of comparison, it costs between $100,000 and $150,000 to house one person in prison for one year.) Despite this, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government cut almost all funding to CoSA in 2014.

This past summer 2015, “Minding the Monster” was included in Parliamentary reading lists for debate over the last of the Conservatives’ “tough-on-crime” bills. And in January 2016, the federal Minister of Public Safety, Ralph Goodale, led many to believe that the new government would revisit funding for CoSA.

Ed Tubb is the Toronto Star’s deputy foreign editor. Before joining the Star in early 2015, Ed freelanced with a focus on how Canada rehabilitates its criminals. His writing has appeared in the Walrus, the Star, the Globe and Mail, J-Source and elsewhere. At the Star, Ed helped develop Profile, the weekend magazine of the newspaper’s tablet edition, Star Touch. He is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Master’s of Journalism program.