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a logo for Bruised Behind Bars with handcuffs over one of the letters

Bruised Behind Bars is a social cause created by female inmate and attorney, Jennifer Emmi (also known as Jennifer Edwards), to raise awareness for the physical and sexual abuse incarcerated women face every day. 

 

Behind bars, Jennifer has endured abuse, harassment, deprivation, arbitrary penalization, and outright sexual assault, as well as 22 weeks of solitary confinement and an illegal transfer from Colorado to a Virginia facility, halfway across the country from her family and support system. The move came mere days after a civil rights attorney took up her case in Colorado and began demanding answers from prison officials. She has lost her hair, eyesight, and ability to walk; she now requires a wheelchair, which officials refuse to provide for her.

About the Founder

A young photo of Jennifer Emmi hugging her pet dog

Jennifer has been forbidden from seeing her three young children for almost four years. They were 4, 6, and 9 years old at the time of her imprisonment. Today, she has no way of knowing how they've grown and who they've become in the years since last she laid eyes on them. 

Jennifer's career has always been focused on helping others -- particularly animals. She founded the Animal Law Center, which operated as the only full-time Colorado law firm dedicated to animal law. Through Jennifer's work, Senate Bill 226 was passed to require law enforcement to conduct mandatory trainings in Colorado related to dog interactions to reduce the number of police killings of innocent dogs.

Jennifer was also featured in the documentary Of Dogs and Men that aimed to raise awareness about the high number of unjust dog fatalities from police shootings. 

Jennifer Emmi is a loving mother, a staunch animal rights advocate, and an accomplished attorney whose harrowing story serves as an illustration of the rampant mistreatment that those targeted by the US "justice" system face every day.

 

Jennifer was sentenced to prison in 2021 after a trial in which she received poor legal counsel and false information about nonexistent plea deals. She was led into court in a daze, unaware of the full extent of what she was set to agree to, weak from going weeks without her necessary medications—which officials withheld from her.

 

Upon release, Jennifer plans to devote all her personal time to her children, who she dearly misses. In her professional time, Jennifer is committed to using the Bruised Behind Bars platform to help save other women from abuse during incarceration. 

Jennifer Emmi laying in a hospital bed surrounded by her three children

“Not knowing what my kids look like right now is the worst pain I could ever imagine.”

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