Coronavirus in Prisons, Jails: An Emergency We Need To Address Now





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Published on Apr 2, 2020

Why Reform the Criminal Justice System?
The criminal justice system is a complex web of agencies—law enforcement, prosecution, defense, courts, pretrial, probation and/or parole, prison, jail, treatment, and other organizations. Reforming the system is difficult since changing one part of the system can affect other parts of the system—typically resulting in a number of unintended consequences (and sometimes adverse effects). 1 in 5 adults in the US have been involved in the justice system, and involvement in the system affects families and communities. This series is about reforms—what needs reforming? Why reform? And how can the reforms justice improve justice and social equity?
Prisons and jails have nearly 2.1 million people behind bars. This includes more than 500,000 people who are waiting trial. The recent coronavirus creates a potential for the rapid spread of the disease in confined settings. This has the potential of turning into a national crisis and has not been addressed at the national level. The webinar will cover the why we must address this issue now, and not wait.
Dr. Frederick (Rick) Altice is a professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health and is a clinician, clinical epidemiologist, intervention and implementation science researcher at Yale University School of Medicine and School of Public Health. He also has a number of projects working in the criminal justice system, including transitional programs addressing infectious diseases, medication-assisted therapies (methadone, buprenorphine, extended release naltrexone), mental illness, homelessness and social instability.

Nicole D. Porter manages The Sentencing Project’s state and local advocacy efforts on sentencing reform, voting rights, and eliminating racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Her advocacy has supported criminal justice reforms in several states including Kentucky, Missouri, and California. Porter was named a "New Civil Rights Leader" by Essence Magazine for her work to eliminate mass incarceration.

Faye S. Mason is an University Professor at George Mason University and the Director of the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence!. Her work focuses on the development of seamless systems-of-care models that link the criminal justice system with other health and other service delivery systems, reengineering probation and parole supervision services, and implementation science. Faye is the Co-Chair of the JCPA Criminal Justice Reform Task Force with Bruce Turnball.


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