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Georgia Gideons Implement Tier Cell Ministry

Gregory C. Dozier
Director of Public Affairs: 
Joan Heath
Contact Name: 
Jeal Salter
Contact Email:
December 30, 2016

Georgia Gideons Implement Tier Cell Ministry

100 Trained members offer encouragement

FORSYTH, Ga. – On October 3, The Georgia Gideons implemented a Tier Cell Ministry by visiting the Special Management Unit (SMU) located at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison (GDCP), one of 10 facilities with the Georgia Department of Corrections, that have a Tier Program. The ministry has since expanded, with several facility visits throughout December. The Tier Cell Ministry is an optional program that seeks to offer personal encouragement to offenders in the Tier program, a system implemented in August 2013, to create a managed and measured stratification oriented pathway for offenders to successfully transition from Administrative Segregation to lower-security levels.

“We look forward to the continued growth of the Tier Cell Ministry and the work that Georgia Gideons do to help these offenders reintegrate back into general population,” said Commissioner Dozier. “We are hopeful that this ministry will inspire these offenders and offer support during this transition.”

The idea for the Tier Cell Ministry Program was hatched in May 2016, and there are currently 100 trained Georgia Gideons who take turns visiting the facilities, to include Valdosta, Georgia, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith, Telfair and Ware State Prisons and SMU. The ministry also visits Augusta State Medical Prison (ASMP), which houses mental health Tier offenders. Volunteers spend several hours with the offenders during each visit, sharing their faith and distributing scriptures.

“Our vision is to build this ministry so that we have a presence in these prisons,” said John Terwilliger, Georgia Gideon Association State Assistant for Prisons and Jails. “We want the inmates to know that we will be there on an ongoing basis to encourage them and to nurture them in the faith.”

The Gideons International began distributing scripture in 1908. Today, there are more than 270,000 Gideons and Auxiliary members.

 The GDC has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and is responsible for supervising nearly 52,000 state prisoners. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 10,500 employees.

For more information on the GDC call 478-992-5248 or visit


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