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Resources Compiled Regarding COVID-19 and Vulnerable Populations

March 30, 2020
National Juvenile Justice Network

As the United States grapples with the global COVID-19 pandemic, the National Juvenile Justice Network shares its deep concern about the health and safety of youth who are in custody or under supervision by state justice systems across the country. At a time when families are coming together to protect themselves and their loved ones, we are calling on states to put the safety of our children first.  This means ending all new admissions to dangerous detention facilities, immediately releasing kids in detention where we know diseases spread quickly, and considering release of all youth in confinement. As we have seen in other congregate care facilities, viruses and diseases spread quickly, endangering everyone’s lives. We all have to do our part in such critical times. State justice systems must do their part to prevent further spread of this virus by serving youth and their families from home, where they belong in the midst of this crisis.

Below, we have compiled resources for NJJN members and other youth justice advocates to provide some guidance in working with local governments to protect youth in the system. 

Webinars and Calls

  • Covid-19 Latinx Justice, a newly formed coalition, is providing information, resources, and community for Spanish speaking people throughout the US through a series of webinars beginning this Thursday, March 26 at 12pm PT / 2pm CT / 3pm ET.

  • On March 13th, the Center for Popular Democracy, Faith in Action, The Justice Collaborative, and the National Council for Incarcerated Women and Girls hosted an Emergency Call: COVID-19 and the Criminal Legal System.  On the call, expert panelists discussed best practices and potential policies for mitigating the harm of coronavirus spread on those impacted by criminal legal and immigration systems, particularly incarcerated and detained people.  Watch HERE
  • On March 19th, the Vera Institute of Justice recorded a conversation with New York Times magazine staff writer Emily Bazelon; the President of Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS), Dr. Homer Venters; Vera Senior Research Fellow, Dr. Leah Pope; and Vera’s VP and Research Director, Jim Parsons,  on how to ensure fair treatment during the COVID-19 epidemic for people living behind bars.
  • The National Network for Justice will host a webinar presentation and discussion about the response to the Coronavirus in jails, prisons and detention facilities on Friday, March 20 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. EDT. Register here. The increase of Coronavirus cases being confirmed around the country has led activists to question the response of local and federal governments for jail, prison and detention facility populations. Join NNJ for a discussion about what activists are doing on a national level and how activists can develop strategies to ensure the safety of prisoners.

  • Law Enforcement Action Partnerships invites you to a webinar on how law enforcement and public officials can improve public safety by significantly reducing our incarcerated population in response to the coronavirus. The webinar will be held Thursday, March 19th at 2pm ET/11am PT. See below for access instructions. As we prepare for the imminent spread of COVID-19, prisons and jails are at high risk of becoming incubators for the spread of the virus. One key to improving public safety in this pandemic is significantly reducing incarceration. Sheriff Manfre will discuss concrete steps that law enforcement and public officials can take, from holding fewer people pretrial to stopping incarceration for technical probation and parole violations and low-level offenses, speeding up imminent release dates, and arranging compassionate release for the elderly and medically frail. Public safety depends on urgent collaboration between criminal justice professionals and service providers to strengthen our position against the arrival of coronavirus.   Access Instructions:  For video: visit https://zoom.us/j/859614729 | For audio only: Call 408 638 0968 and enter Meeting ID: 859 614 729

Recommendations and Steps Facilities Can Take

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