The mission of the D.C. Jail Advocacy Project is to remove barriers encountered by youth and adults with psychiatric disabilities as they transition back to the community from jail, and provide direct multi-disciplinary advocacy services, public education and systemic reform efforts. The Project works in a manner that optimizes the competency and dignity of individuals with mental illness and promotes a public health model that provides continuity of care with transparency, dignity, human rights and public health protections.
Angela Agnew works as Peer Advocate for the Project, working with individuals who have recently been released from jail or prison to assist them in navigating service connections. Ms. Agnew also leads the Project's peer education efforts, speaking at halfway houses, clinics, shelters and other sites. In 2007, she launched the city's first ever Peer Educator training network for people with mental illness with previous criminal-justice involvement. She is currently developing the District of Columbia's first-ever certified peer specialist training program in partnership with local mental health consumer groups. Her personal experiences as a survivor of trauma, the mental health system, and incarceration give her added skills in assisting others to navigate the system in order to obtain proper supports as they transition back into the community. Some people who have felt alienated by traditional services are drawn to her because she instills hope, facilitates trust and truly reflects a commitment to recovery. She teaches effective self-advocacy through her personal experience.
Angela is from Chicago, where she received her Clinical training and Mental Health/Addictions Counseling Certification in Illinois. She has worked for Haymarket Center, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois and Community Counseling Center of the Fox Valley as a Counselor.