Our Director, Phil Bowen, introduces CJI’s tracker of how justice systems around the world are adapting to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The unprecedented nature of COVID-19 outbreak is placing demands on justice systems across the world. There has already been justified concern about the spread of the virus in prisons and jails and a focus on how the police enforces the law, copes with the special demands of lockdowns and polices by consent with a public often confused and worried.
Our focus has been to try to see what different jurisdictions are doing around some of our core areas of focus, namely criminal and public family law courts, community supervision of offenders and bail supervision and through the prison gate services, especially around prisoner releases.
We published today our tracker, bringing together what we know from jurisdictions we have contacts with, to compare and contrast justice system response (and which we will be updating weekly).
What we see is a pattern of certain services being paused (you can’t run unpaid work groups virtually), others adapting (video and telephone contact for supervision appointments) and, in places, innovation (we have heard of people experimenting to see if they can run restorative justice peace-making circles virtually).
It is far too early to draw lessons from these changes. Practitioners are going more than the extra mile to keep basic services going and it can be too easy for policymakers to assume that what happens in extremis could and should become the norm. It will take patient research and responsible service design to draw out and apply lessons once the pandemic has passed.
We are keen to hear as much as possible about how services are adapting, so please get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow @CJInnovation on Twitter to stay up to date with the tracker, as it traces the global response to the crisis.
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