Experience to Action: Reshaping Criminal Justice After COVID-19

Experience to Action: Reshaping Criminal Justice  After COVID-19

A report from the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice provides criminal justice practitioners and policy makers with an agenda for preparing for future public health crises, based on studies and expert testimony on the pandemic's impact on the criminal justice system. Funded by Arnold Ventures, the Justice and Mobility Fund at Blue Meridian Partners, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Microsoft, and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the study, Experience to Action: Reshaping Criminal Justice After COVID-19, found that while rates of property crime and drug offenses fell in 2020 from 2019 levels, that of violent crimes rose; the COVID-19 mortality rate in prisons was double that of the general population; as jail populations declined, the proportion of people who were Black, booked on felony charges, male, and age 25 or younger increased; and most states have reported increases in opioid-related fatalities. Based on four principles — be bold, embracing new opportunities for meaningful and lasting reform; recognize the humanity of individuals impacted by and working in the system; embrace innovation as a means of overcoming challenges; and build equity, trust, and confidence — the report's recommendations for building preparedness include engaging all sectors of the system, as well as public health authorities and community-based organizations; working to limit contact, maximize distance, and reduce density; encouraging the adoption of shared standards and best practices; collecting and reporting standardized, aggregated public health data concerning justice-involved populations and staff; and improving communication and increasing transparency.

(Photo credit: Arnold Ventures)