Jennifer is an author, speaker, and federal prison coach whose fervent desire is to bring an end to our country’s mass incarceration problem, and to find alternatives to imprisonment. Her passion to be an advocate for women in prison and youth with incarcerated parents led Jennifer to co-found R.I.S.E. to Empower, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls and women to make positive choices. Their work with at-risk, teen girls led to their program being accepted into San Diego U.S. Federal Probation’s reentry initiative, where they facilitate high-risk women recently released from Federal Prison.
A midwestern farm girl, Jennifer grew up among the cornfields. After graduating with a B.F.A in Dance and Choreography, she moved to Chicago where she toured as a performer and choreographer, eventually becoming artistic director of her own dance company. Still, Jennifer made a poor decision to traffic marijuana, and in 2002, she was arrested by the Federal Government and sentenced to three years in Federal Prison. Inside prison, she was horrified at the large number of women locked up on nonviolent, draconian, mandatory minimum drug sentences, mostly mothers. When Jennifer was released, she made a vow to give back from her experience, and in 2009 she founded LA Myers Consulting, a prison consulting business that supports women surrendering to prison, and their families.
Jennifer’s memoir, Trafficking the Good Life, was a finalist in the 2014 San Diego Book & Writing Awards. Her writing has received accolades in the PEN Prison Writing Contest, and has been published in Salon Magazine, the anthology Razor Wire Women, and The Huffington Post. Jennifer has spoken extensively to teens about making good choices, and has appeared as a Prison Consultant on Inside Edition and Lifetime’s special, Abby Tells All.
Her recent journey back to prison, to help produce San Diego’s first TEDx inside of a prison, intensified Jennifer’s desire to change the paradigm of our criminal justice system. She was deeply affected by the men she met locked up on life sentences. Their big hearts, and willingness to transform, continue to inspire Jennifer, weekly, and confirm to her that some of the most courageous people live behind bars
When not delving into her work to empower girls and women, Jennifer enjoys yoga, meditation, hiking by the sea, painting, and writing books for children and young adults. She is hopelessly devoted to her Tabby, Otis, and has been known to profess, she is ‘addicted to prison’.