With these recommendations, the Commission has provided criminal justice leaders with concrete guidance on immediate measures to contain COVID-19 and improve readiness for future public health emergencies. These cross-cutting and sector-specific recommendations will help inform the efforts of policymakers and practitioners as they work urgently to protect their staff, their communities, and the populations they serve.
The Commission’s next task will be just as important: using lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic to envision a stronger, healthier, and more equitable criminal justice system in a post-pandemic world.
Which policies and practices should change, particularly with respect to the churn of people in and out of jails and prisons? Have inequities and racial disparities in the system been exacerbated by the pandemic, and if so, how can they best be addressed? Should new reliance on technology in courts, policing, and other sectors continue? What are the most important research questions that should be answered? By the end of 2020, the Commission will release its final report addressing these and other critical questions.
COVID-19 has been an unexpected, and most unwelcome, visitor. Moving forward, the Commission will continue to work to ensure that the pandemic’s heavy toll drives us toward a system that produces better safety, justice, and health for all.