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Victims Voices

Victims voice’s need to be be heard too. When Jennifer Bishop came to speak in class, I was completely touched.  I have had a little experience with a victim of a crime.  My 2nd cousin’s family was murdered, and the surviving member of that family, my 2nd cousin, returns every year to Leavenworth Maximum Security Prison every year, in Leavenworth Kansas, in order to keep the guilty man from receiving parole.  I see how she hurts, just as I saw Jennifer hurting.  It is important to take into consideration that the victims aren’t just the ones that literally got physically hurt. Their families and friends are suffering emotionally, as the pain and hurt never fully goes away.  I never thought about the ways victims deal with their pain. Either buried away in a place that at any moment can be dug up when a familiar smell, name or memory comes to mind. Or victims can take the pain and turn it around into something positive to help them deal.  Websites are dedicated to just this: the victims.  After looking over some of  them I realized that it never really ends at the Continue reading

Reflections From Guest Speaker Darrell Cannon

Darrell Cannon is one of the best speakers that has come to our class, and one of the best speakers that I have ever heard. He was tortured by officers of the Chicago Police Department trained by Jon Burge. Jon Burge used torture tactics such as suffocation and even attaching electrical clips to men’s testicles to try to get them to confess. Another horrible torture tactic that Darrell Cannon described- a police officer loaded a gun (or made the sounds of loading a gun) and said they he would shoot Darrell Cannon if he did not confess. Mr. Cannon refused, and was forced to go through the trauma of thinking that he would be shot in the mouth three times in a row. The abuses that Mr. Cannon described made me cringe, they made me Continue reading

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  Continue reading

Response to Victim’s Websites

It was not until Jennifer Bishop Jenkins came in to speak to our class about victim’s rights did I ever really start thinking about victim’s rights at all. To me, being a victim seemed like such a passive and depressing experience, but it really isn’t. You can do a lot of things as an active victim to ensure that you’re wishes are being considered, that the offender is serving his/her crime, and to ensure your own safely as well as your family’s. Websites such as www.murdervictims.com/Parole and http://www.citizensagainsthomicide.org have a set of guidelines to follow when protesting the parole of the offender and offer legal help. This includes writing a detailed description of the crime, a history of the victim’s life, their future goals and reasons why the offender shouldn’t be paroled. I understand why many victims would want to do this- especially if they feel that the offender is only spending a minimal amount of time in prison, yet at the same time I feel like it is a very anti-restorative justice movement. Victims don’t seem to have any concern for rehabilitative Continue reading

Darrell Cannons’s Speech

I am honestly in awe of his strength and eloquence.  The speech was beautiful.  I actually saw him speak the Saturday before at an event at the University of Chicago against the death penalty and it was the same day he attended his sisters funeral.  I remember him saying that even though relatives were still at his house, he felt obligated to come to the event to speak out and never misses an opportunity as it is important to him that people are aware and active.  I cannot start to imagine how it must feel to lose loved ones while incarcerated, and it is so inspiring to see how strong he is these days.  His story helped put everything in perspective for me and gave me a chance to try to imagine what he must have gone through.

As he was describing the torture scene with the officers, I felt his helplessness and anger.  For those who were not present, he explained how the police showed up at his house, arrested him and took him to an isolated forested area in which they continued to torture him into confessions.  They used methods such as using electric cattle shockers to his testicles, hanging him by his handcuffs, russian roulette with a shotgun in his mouth, and verbal humiliation.  By the end, he had endured so much pain that he said if they asked Continue reading

Darrell Cannon Discussion/My interrogation training

Having Darrell speak to the class about his experiences in prison and with torture was interesting as well as depressing. The amount of physical abuse he endured accompanied with the mental torture that lasted throughout his prison sentence seems remarkable that a human being can survive and still remain a competent individual. I think Darrell’s terrifying descriptions of life in prison certainly confirm why some prisoners become even more mentally unstable after release. I can almost understand why recidivism rates are high. The one thing that Darrell mentioned at the beginning of his discussion was the torture that he suffered through inflicted by detectives under the command of Jon Burge. I am very disheartened Continue reading