We are excited to introduce The Amazing Gospel Souls, Inc. (AGS), a peer-run, faith-based community organization owned and operated by formerly justice-involved individuals who seek to support returning citizens through temporary housing, employment training, behavioral health counseling, crisis intervention, peer fellowship, peer outreach and peer outreach training, violence interruption and other reentry opportunities. In addition, AGS provides transitional services to elderly returning citizens who have been released due to the Compassionate Release Program, whose average incarcerated length is at least 30 years.
AGS as both a concept and ministry was born in 1980 in the now closed Lorton Prison Complex — first as a gospel band and eventually evolving into a prison ministry. AGS’s longtime leader, Kevin Petty, was incarcerated for 31 years before being released in 2009. During his time in prison, he became a man of faith through community churches and organizations that performed prison outreach and helped those where incarcerated prepare for the challenges of reentry once released.
We asked AGS what they hope the ACT Initiative will accomplish in our city:
We should always remember that the vast majority of returning citizens are poor, severely underserved, and must return to communities and families who are also poor and severely underserved. This reality should cause us all to rethink service delivery to this population with an eye on treatment and family/community reunification. I hope the ACT Initiative has the effect of empowering returning citizens and their families/communities through strong representation, thus radically changing the trajectory of these challenges today.
We are grateful for the partnership of AGS and all they are doing to support the successful transition of returning citizens in DC!