Our mission

Achieve Higher Ground is a not for profit organization that serves community by:

1. Offering recovery to crime victims through group meetings.
2. Inspiring people in prison to heal from trauma.
3. Open AHGNES’ House, a reentry house located in Tallahassee that will address the trauma of formerly incarcerated people (including RJ trajectories) and assist them in successfully returning to society.

Our vision

America is the land of opportunity where people believe in Second Chances. But Florida is an outlier in the way it condemns so many of its citizens to death by life in prison with no chance of parole. We want to take a bite out of the crime of an industry tin canning bodies to make millions.

Achieve Higher Ground stands for healing of all the people wounded by crime. Where traditional justice focuses on punishing the wounder and Restorative Justice focuses on meeting the needs of the wounded, we want to focus on Holistic Justice, a concept of justice marking a path that ensures the wounder heals too and will be an asset to the community rather than a liability.

This healing for all is a first step to restore an inclusive membership of the incarcerated in (outer) society. We all need this sense of belonging because only through this inclusiveness will we understand our humanity – a right to every person on this planet.

Florida is entitled to a more humane criminal justice system. We believe that the people are long ready to commit to such positive change. It is the people of Florida that will demand a change of laws in order to create a more inclusive and thus safer society through The Second Chance Amendment.

Find us in the media:

Wildflowers in the Median
Thousands of copies have been sold already and the book has been translated in Portugese and will be in French. This award winning book by Agnes Furey and Leonard Scovens recounts the extraordinary journey they both took on the path of forgiveness. Forgiveness from another and forgiveness from yourself. You may order the book through Amazon here.
Facebook community

Inspiring and connecting people. Over thousand people are being engaged in this Achieve Higher Ground Facebook page, directed by Agnes mainly. Achieve Higher Ground is a non-profit holistic justice service provider based in Florida and Agnes has been connecting to many institutions, ngo’s and passionate people who, like her, love restorative and holistic justice.

Leonard Scovens in Human
Leonard has appeared in Human, the acclaimed film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Leonard not only appeared in it, Arthus-Bertrand chose to put Leonard first in his film, thus stressing how compelling Leonard’s story about love and human kind is.
Agnes Furey & Leonard Scovens in Another Justice
Filming Leonard for Human, Chloé Henry-Biabaud and Isabelle Vayronwere were so very impressed by his story as to decide to make an entire film about Restorative Justice and the healing effects of forgiveness. Both Agnes and Leonard play an important role in it.
PEN Award winning essayist

A taste of Leonard Scovens’ talent:

‘I see our ancestors jamming, praying, singing in his eyes. We’re separated by a piece of Plexiglass crisscrossed with steel wire designed to cage me in this prison that has striven to become my home; but my two-year old nephew Ja ‘Shua is irrepressible. The reinforced steel, tough-talking guards, the violent clang and clamoring weight that slams on the spine of anyone entering a prison for any reason at all do not disturb his groove. His eyes are chocolate vats of vibrant soul spilling through the barrier between us. “I know who you are!” he seems to be saying.’
Read on here.

Holistic Justice
We from Achieve Higher Ground believe in Holistic Justice, an approach to justice that focuses on the healing of all the people wounded by crime. Where traditional justice focuses on punishing the offender (wounder), and Restorative Justice (RJ) focuses on meeting the needs of the victim (wounded), Holistic Justice marks a path that ensures both the healing of the wounded and the wounder. 

We view crime coming from a wound that needs to be healed. 

Hurt people hurt people;
Healed people heal people. 

Though it seems weak to be concerned with the emotions of someone who has committed a crime, it is foolish to ignore them when a refusal to acknowledge and deal with them results in continued dysfunction that costs lives and treasure. It is not soft on crime to take such a holistic approach to justice. It is wise on crime. We believe that people in prison have the potential to change and become an asset to the community rather than a liability. Once healed themselves, they will be catalysts for healing, transformation and redemption in their prisons, families, and communities. It is exactly this what we need, to build a sustainable path toward a truly healed community. 

RJ takes a huge step in the direction of Holistic Justice by acknowledging the humanity of the person who committed the crime while shifting the focus away from punishment and redirecting it toward reparation. Unfortunately, the RJ process stops at the point where the wounder holds themselves accountable for having committed the crime and having wounded someone. The wounder most often represses their negative emotions so that the process will seem to go according to the plans of those who’ve arranged it. This outcome leaves them stuck in the darkness of shame, which makes them potentially more dangerous at the end of the process than they were at the beginning. 

One of RJ’s implicit goals is for the wounder to stop wounding people and its ultimate goal is a healed community. We believe the RJ  process to be only partly successful, since not both the wounded and wounder are on the path to healing at it’s conclusion. 

When we advocate a healed community, we need to move beyond RJ and embrace Holistic Justice as its new alternative. 

DO YOU FEEL A CALL?

Both Agnes and Leonard have a track record of being highly meaningful in other people’s lives. Their work is like balm to many hearts. Their mission is to continue to spread healing. And they depend on gifts to do so.