Achieve Higher Ground is planning to open AHGNES’ House in 2023

AHGNES’ House, a reentry house located in Tallahassee that will address the trauma of formerly incarcerated people and assist them in successfully returning to society.

AHGNES’ House answers the Leon County need for an appropriately located residential center that provides temporary residence and transitional services for formerly incarcerated people, including registered sex offenders, who are returning to the community.

Over the next year we’ll finetune our concept and start putting some of it into action.

Our 2021 main activities will be:

* Communicate our plan to the Tallahassee community and gain support
* Find locals who want to actively participate
* Further develop our unique program
* Engage with professionals who will want to train with our participants

AHGNES’ House offers services to people who are returning to the community from prisons and jails. We focus on helping those reentering citizens healing from trauma.

Admittance into the AHGNES” House’s six month program will require the study and completion of The Manual: Holistic Justice & the Path to Higher Ground.

Our residential program will offer:

Trauma therapy:

* The Higher Ground Workshop Series (coming from The Manual), group sessions

* Individual coaching

*Bodywork: Mindfulness & Self Compassion, Meditation and Yoga classes

Restorative Justice guidance

* Preparations for victim–offender dialogues

Employment assistance:

* AHGNES’ House organic vegetable growing, pizza & salad deliveries

* Partnership with Employment Agency

Housing assistance:

* Partnership with Housing Placement Agency

“A central challenge is how to make people who are not incarcerated care about people who are. How to break down the false but persistent idea that the kinds of people who are imprisoned are fundamentally –morally and ethically–different from those of us who are free.” 

Christine Montross M.D. ~ author Waiting For an Echo

We diminish the reentry barrier of trauma, housing & employment
by offering trauma healing, supportive housing & work experience.

Urgent need to develop interventions

Men comprise 90% of the incarcerated population and are at the greatest risk to be rearrested for a new crime after release. One of the most overlooked, but highly influential, factors in poor postrelease outcomes of formerly incarcerated men is unaddressed symptoms resulting from lifetime traumatic experiences. 

Studies of incarcerated men report up to 98% have had at least one lifetime traumatic experience—many have experienced multiple traumas. Prison stacks up high traumatic events on top of those. These men are never being treated while inside. Nor outside.

With nearly 600,000 men releasing from incarceration each year, there is an urgent need to develop targeted interventions. 

Contemporary outlaws

Professor Keesha Middleman names reentering citizens “contemporary outlaws” who suffer from social disability. In many states, according to Middleman, those with felony convictions are forced to live on the margins of society. Add to that the untreated trauma and chances for succesful change are minimalized.

It’s not a fact that these people are life-time criminals, but it’s a fact that society – out of fear? – sees them this way and doesn’t give them a real chance once they have served their time and have repented. 

Furthermore, people in prison and those coming out are a class of severely traumatized people. Their unaddressed, unhealed trauma will more likely lead them to commit new crimes and traumatize more people.

Locking up the wounder and letting the wounded make a victim impact statement doesn’t treat the trauma. We cannot continue to ignore the offender’s need to heal because of our collective anger at them. Not if we want to solve the problem of violence and crime.

To improve community safety and secure inclusiveness for all, we must cut the cycle of almost inevitable recidivism.
That needs community centered healing and support.