SHATTERED LIVES with Donna R. Gore, “LadyJustice”
Examining the effects of those who have survived violent crime and how it has impacted their lives.
Real people, real tragedy, real help.
Saturdays at 5pm ET
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Every day on American soil we hear about another tragedy related to guns. Although our Constitution’s Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, it has been hotly debated and challenged since it’s inception in 1791.
Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins‘ views on gun control were born out of her own personal family tragedy, losing her sister, brother-in-law, and their unborn child to a 16-year-old “thrill killer.” Living every day with the memory of her loss, and continually fighting to keep the killer behind bars, Jenkins has been a vocal activist on her sister’s behalf.
She brings to the table the issue of the mostly ignored rights of the victims when advocating within the juvenile justice system to keep this “serial killer in the making” behind bars. Arguing against early release of underage killers who have been tried and sentenced as adults, Jenkins says, “The nationwide campaign to end JLWOP has spent millions of dollars advocating for these convicted murderers to be set free. Not a dime has been allocated for victim outreach or support.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins and her family are active opponents of the death penalty, believing that prevention is the key to alleviating the devastation of crime rather than execution.
“Our sister’s last act as she was dying was to write a message of love in her own blood.
We can’t imagine making the death of another human being her memorial.”
At the recent NOVA Conference held in Columbus, Ohio, Donna R. Gore meeting with Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins and her husband, Bill.
Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins’ sister Nancy Bishop Langert was shot to death along with her husband, Richard Langert, and their unborn child in suburban Chicago in 1990. Their killer was 16 years old at the time and a local politician running for re-election proposed lowering the age of death penalty eligibility in Illinois to 16 to “honor your sister.”
Jennifer vowed to oppose him publicly if her sister’s murder was used as the rationale for this proposal. “Nancy loved children and this is not what she would have wanted,” she says. Since that time she has worked to end the death penalty both in Illinois and nationwide.
She has served on the board of the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty, has been the state president for the Million Mom March /Brady Campaign and volunteers with the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. She was a featured speaker on the steps of the U.S. Capital for the Halt the Assault Million Mom March on Mother’s Day 2004. She has testified before the Illinois Governor’s Commission on Capital Punishment and in death penalty clemency hearings before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. She has spoken before state legislative committees and the Chicago City Council on issues of gun violence, crime prevention, and criminal justice reform.
She appeared in the documentary on the death penalty, “Too Flawed To Fix” and was profiled in a Chicago Tribune Magazine cover story. Her story and abolition work are included in the book Don’t Kill In Our Names by Rachel King. Jennifer, who first visited Illinois’ death row in 1994, is on a mercy committee for former death row inmate Renaldo Hudson. She wrote the foreword for the recently published book of prisoners’ essays on personal responsibility and transformation entitled Lockdown Prison Heart.
Jennifer and her sister, Jeanne Bishop, were co-recipients of the Brigid Award given by Concern Worldwide in recognition of their reconciliation work. She has taught high school and college for more than 20 years and has received several outstanding teacher awards. She currently serves as the Field Director for Illinois and Minnesota for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. http://www.willsworld.com/~mvfhr/jennifer.htm
- Guest post on Miller from Jennifer Bishop Jenkins, President of the National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Lifers (sentencing.typepad.com)
- More on victims’ perspectives and advocacy after SCOTUS Miller ruling (sentencing.typepad.com)
- Green River serial killer Ridgway says he might be able to locate more bodies of his victims (vancouversun.com)
- Texas Assessment Team Releases Report on State’s Death Penalty System, Cites Urgent Need for Reform (prnewswire.com)
- Kansas lawmakers could debate death penalty in 2014 (cjonline.com)
- Jenkins’ sister says idea of death penalty for brother is ‘sinful’ (omaha.com)
- Victim’s father against death penalty (wthitv.com)