2018 Keynote Speakers


President/Founder; Straight Ahead Ministries
Adjunct Professor; Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Dr. Scott Larson is president and founder of Straight Ahead Ministries, an international faith-based organization working with juvenile offenders in more than 400 juvenile detention centers in 15 states and five countries with a myriad of aftercare programs when youth return home.

Scott has authored 13 books on working effectively with troubled youth and has been a speaker to youth, parents, teachers, social workers and youth workers since 1983, and is an adjunct professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education, Eastern University and at Gordon College.

He was part of founding the Every Youth, Every Facility initiative, focused on partnering with ministries to reach every youth in the 1,300 juvenile detention centers in the U.S.

Scott and his wife Hanne reside in Worcester, Massachusetts and have two grown two children, Sarah and David.


Friends and Mentors
Effective reentry support happens because committed friends and mentors help former inmates grow in their faith, develop healthy social networks, find resources for housing, employment, education, recovery, etc., and reintegrate with their community and families.



Professor; Howard University School of Divinity

Dr. Harold Dean Trulear, Ph.D. Professor at Howard University School of Divinity. Dr. Trulear is the author of over 100 articles, book chapters, essays and published sermons. His important monographs include “Faith Based Initiatives with High Risk Youth”, “The African American Church and Welfare Reform”, and “George Kelsey: Unsung Hero”.

He directs a national research and demonstration project called “Healing Communities”  mobilizing congregations to support those returning from incarceration through the establishment of family and social support networks. With Charles Lewis and W. Wilson Goode, he is co-editor of the book “Ministry with Prisoners and Families: The Way Forward” (Judson Press 2011).

Through his research and activism he has been named a Fellow at the Center for Public Justice in Annapolis, Maryland, and served as a consultant to the Faith and Families portfolio of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In 2014, Dr. Trulear was named as one of “14 Faith Leaders to Watch” by the Center for American Progress. He also serves as a member of the Executive Session on Community Corrections at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Healing Communities
Effective reentry support is more than starting a new program.  It’s part of a larger vision for developing the church as a healing community.



Chaplain; Prince William Manassas Regional ADC, VA
Former Chaplain; Essex County Correctional Facility, Middleton MA

Chaplain Ray Perez is the Good News Jail & Prison Ministry chaplain, serving Prince William Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center.

In November of 1995, through a string of circumstances natural and supernatural, and after many years of diverse ministry in the local church, Chaplain Perez began his service as a full-time Chaplain for the Essex County (MA) Sheriffs Department, where he established a mentoring program for at-risk offenders, helped build an aftercare network called New Brothers Fellowship, and served on the Essex County Anti-Crime Council and on the Governor’s Advisory Council for Institutional Chaplaincy.

In 2006, Chaplain Perez moved into a new role with Good News Jail & Prison Ministry in Northern Virginia, and soon after became the Senior Chaplain for both Prince William and Fairfax County, overseeing both ministries while training chaplains in both facilities. From 2008-2011, he served as chaplain for the American Jail Association, which serves the nation’s jails and correctional leaders. He has written articles for the American Jail Association Journal and other internet and local publications.

Chaplain Perez now serves exclusively at the Prince William Manassas Regional ADC. He also serves on a state-wide policy team called Evidence Based Decision Making (EBDM), a team that is evaluating the correctional system from arrest through incarceration, including post-release. He also serves on the DIVERT committee, which works to divert mentally ill inmates out of the correctional system by directing them into mental health services and alternatives to arrest and incarceration. He is a co-President of the  Prince William Ministerial Association, and promotes regional revival through the integration of ex-offenders into the local church community and by facilitating relationships across a widely diverse racial and denominational boundaries.

Ray and his wife Gail have been married for over 37 years.  They have seven children and three grandchildren.


Connecting Prison Ministry and Reentry Support
Effective reentry support is built on relationships that were developed when the men and women were still in jail or prison.  Churches who make this investment are strategically postured to continue the relationship when the inmate is released.