Victims and Jenifer Bishop Jenkins

Jenifer Bishop Jenkins brought to light an often over looked issue in the criminal justice scene, that is how to deal with victims of violent crimes or extreme tragedy.  Jenkins showed how a victim can take on one of two roles.  One could choose to be extremely depressed, living in fear and only going through the motions of life.  Or, like Jenkins, one could choose the role of advocate, still at times being say but sharing their personal story in order to create awareness, doing so in memory of their lost loved one and others who may have come into the same end.  Jenkins has taken what has happened in her life and is trying to shed light on the subject of victims.  She has chosen to take the high road or as they say she has learned to make lemonade with what lemons life gave her.  During her speech for out class she did still  get emotional when talking of her sister’s passing yet anyone who watched her speak could tell she wanted to share her message instead of being trapped by her sadness.

Another great point that Jenifer Bishop Jenkins brought up concerned how one actually should treat a victim of a violent crime.  Speaking to out class was a perfect opportunity to spread her message, especially because many in the class are majoring in criminal justice and planning to have a career orientated with the criminal justice system.  Whether one is going to be a lawyer, judge or officer, all should know how to treat a victim or a victim’s family member.  No matter what everyone should have compassion for a victim making sure to never pass feelings of judgment or make them feel like they have to do anything they do not want to.  One should treat a victim with gentle sympathy and simply say, “I am sorry for your loss.”  This may be the only thing one could really do to make a victim feel better.  These type of situations can be tough because you do not want to hit a sensitive area and make the victim feel uncomfortable.  Above all treat the victim as you would want to be treated if you were in the same situation.  It is extremely important to extend a hand of understanding because no one can really be sure how the victim is feeling or what exactly they went through.

The last thing that really stood out in Jenkins talk was her stance on the death penalty.  One would assume that a person in her situation would be in favor of an “eye for an eye” philosophy.  But this was actually far from the truth.  In her opinion she did not believe in being like the killer and taking another persons life.  As Jenkins described, “It would make me like him (the killer), and I am not.”  This is a powerful thing to hear froma woman who lost her sister and brother-in-law to a sociopath killer.  Jenkins also highly favored restorative justice, which is the practice of both victims and criminals coming together.  Through this they acknowledge who is accountable and thus comes restitution, justice and safety.  This is one way to bring the community together and there is healing on both sides as all involved try to come to a just a dignified punishment to the crime commited against the community.

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One Response

  1. Thanks for the post on her story, and her view of Restorative Justice.

    Kris

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