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Jennifer Luther

2021 Special Courage Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards
Watch the tribute video

Jennifer Luther | Special Courage Award
Correctional Rehabilitation Services
Tallahassee, Florida

In 1992, Jennifer Luther was met by two young men hiding in the bushes as she arrived home from work. As one of the men held a gun to her arm that fateful night, he took her purse and shot her. The resulting trauma was both physical and psychological. Following a life-saving surgery, Ms. Luther spent 3 years in physical therapy learning to use her hand again. 

During her recovery, she worked to understand how someone could harm a fellow human being. She began volunteering, and soon discovered that violence is normalized in some communities. In fact, the police later discovered the incident was a gang initiation to shoot a woman. Coming so close to death created space for her to more closely examine her life purpose. Ms. Luther decided that if she wasn’t a part of the solution, she was a part of the problem by default. She saw that this young man represented many others in her community, and she wanted to help. 

Ms. Luther engaged in volunteer work and started a mentoring program at a local middle school, pursuing various pathways to healing. She studied human behavior, criminal justice, and correctional rehabilitation. She trained in evidence-based practices, like cognitive-behavioral interventions and motivational interviewing, running a variety of diversion groups. In 2007, she was accepted into the international Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT), where she continues as an active member studying and training behavior change. 

She conducted research, and authored curricula and associated publications to support prosocial change for justice-involved individuals and correctional staff, such as Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention Integration for Probation: A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of a Model of Community Supervision. Most recently, she has been developing innovative ways to better support reentry. 

Ms. Luther is the Chief Executive Officer of Correctional Rehabilitation (CoRe) Services, consulting internationally and locally to support effective correctional practices and corrections reform. Ms. Luther has discovered that justice-involved individuals experience disproportionately high rates of victimization themselves. 

She believes that people deserve multiple chances to reach their highest potential, and that compassion, empowerment, and hope are the keys to change. Most importantly, she continues to be passionate about our individual and collective ability to make a positive impact and prevent future victimization.

2021 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video

Watch this tribute video about Jennifer Luther, 2021 recipient of the Special Courage Award.