Coronavirus Resources

NACDL to Focus on Service and Support for Members, Clients, and Community Throughout Virus Emergency

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, "[t]he American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories." These are not fixed populations. As recently as 2017, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), more than 10 million people a year, or close to 1 million people a month, are admitted into America’s jails alone — jails that averaged an overall weekly inmate turnover rate of 54%. Some 20% of America’s jails operated at or above 100% capacity at mid-year 2017. And according to a 2015 BJS special report, a 2011-12 survey revealed that "an estimated 40% of state and federal prisoners and jail inmates reported having a current chronic medical condition[.]" The far-reaching challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic not only implicate the health, safety, and welfare of more than two million incarcerated individuals, but also extend to the functioning of America's courts, individuals' access to counsel, and concerns about eroding liberties in this nation, among other matters.

On this Coronavirus Resources page, NACDL is aggregating its statements and messages; motions, pleadings, rulings, and other court papers related to COVID-19 and at-risk clients; advocacy letters on which NACDL is a signatory; various resources from across the criminal justice community; and news of interest on the intersection of criminal justice and the coronavirus. Indeed, on this page you will find sections linking to End Incarceration's tracking of changes to incarcerated populations across the country, Courthouse News Service's and the Brennan Center for Justice's tracking of changes and responses of federal and state courts nationwide, and The Marshall Project's tracking of prisons' responses to the virus, including changes to visitation rules, among many other resources.

NACDL has created this Coronavirus Resources page as a public service and thanks its members and others who provided motions, pleadings, rulings, and other court papers that other attorneys can use in their advocacy on behalf of their at-risk clients in the context of this pandemic. In addition, NACDL thanks the numerous organizations who have posted the useful resources that are linked to here. 

This page is a living resource that will be constantly updated. If you know of or have resources to share (of the nature included on this page) that you think would be useful to criminal defense lawyers and criminal justice reform advocates, as well as the media and the public, please send them to NACDL Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at idominguez@nacdl.org.

Disclaimer: This Coronavirus Resources page provides practice material submitted or shared by members and non-members of NACDL, as well as external links to reliable sources, and more. NACDL does not endorse or verify the content of third party materials posted here and advises all to check that the law is current and relevant to their jurisdiction.

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NACDL Statements, Messages, and Positions

Compassionate Release Clearinghouse

Motions, Pleadings, Rulings, and Other Court Papers Related to Covid-19 and at-risk Clients

Attempts to Shut Down Lawyers

  • On March 19, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania issued a Proclamation ordering the closure of "non-life sustaining" businesses, with enforcement effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 21. Governor Wolf's Proclamation was accompanied by a list of life sustaining businesses that may remain open​. According to that list, legal services were deemed by the Governor to not be a "life sustaining" business and, thus, subject to the closure order. NACDL Past President and Philadelphia Attorney Theodore "Ted" Simon on March 19, 2020, undertook to write a letter to Governor Wolf to explain that the services of criminal defense lawyers are constitutionally-mandated Services under the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions and must not be subject to his closure order. Simon attached to his letter the March 18, 2020, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Order deeming various criminal defense lawyer functions as essential. Additionally, Simon also spoke with and provided his letter to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC). After Ted Simon's letter was delivered, on March 20, 2020, the AOPC issued guidance clarifying that "restricted access to law offices and facilities by legal professionals, staff, and clients is permitted to the degree necessary to allow attorneys to participate in court functions deemed essential by a President Judge per the Supreme Court’s order of March 18, 2020, so long as social distancing and other mitigation measures are employed for the protection of lawyers, staff, and clients. Pursuant to the governor’s order, all other business must be conducted remotely; necessary retrieval of files or other materials should be accomplished expeditiously." That guidance was approved by Pennsylvania's Office of General Counsel. Not content, Simon asked for further guidance from the AOPC to include federal representation in the various federal courts. Thereafter, the AOPC issued the following, providing that the closure applied "Except as required to allow attorneys to participate in court functions deemed essential by a president judge per the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's order of March 18, 2020, or similar federal court directive, and lawyers may access their offices to effectuate such functions and directives."

Public Defense Compensation (CJA)

Legal Press Offering Guidance

  • This section is in addition to the "News of Interest" coronavirus news feed section below and is intended to draw particular attention to certain content published in the legal press.

  • Bloomberg Law, March 30, 2020: INSIGHT: Protecting Prisoners in Pandemics Is a Constitutional Must ("Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law at Yale Law School, says putting constitutional obligations into practice for the prison population—for Covid-19 and other diseases—is daunting. Yet there are ways to lower the risks, and we have guideposts.")

Joint advocacy letters & Platforms

  • Coalition Letter to Congressional Leadership on Elderly Home Detention in COVID-19 Aid (March 2020) ("Coalition letter to Senate and House leadership regarding the technical fix to properly expand the Elderly Home Detention Pilot Program under the First Step Act (S. 3035, 2020), for inclusion in a relief package responding to the coronavirus pandemic.")

  • Recommendations to Congress to Protect Incarcerated People During the COVID-19 Pandemic (March 2020) ("Recommendations for Congress compiled by members of the Justice Roundtable for inclusion in legislation addressing COVID-19 conditions around the country, particularly in U.S. detention facilities for individuals incarcerated and working with that population.")

  • Humane Outbreak Response: Humanity Not Cages: Demanding a Just and Humane Response to Outbreak ("This platform addresses our demands of how public and private actors within the criminal legal system should respond to the inevitable COVID-19 outbreak in prisons, jails, courthouses and immigrant detention centers throughout the United States. These recommendations were crafted in part by the work activists, legal experts, and directly impacted people over the course of some years. We hope that this framework can act as a guideline for activists, advocates and electeds who wish to fight for massive reduction in this nation’s incarcerated population, while also looking towards strategic, timely and humane response to alleviate the impact COVID-19 will have on incarcerated people.")

  • Coalition Letters Dated March 23, 2020, to the National Governors Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National Sheriffs' Association ("The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and over 150 other groups called upon the National Governors Association (NGA), U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), and the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA) to act immediately to help stem the tide of Covid-19. In letters sent to the three organizations, the groups urge them to use their authority to reasonably release people from prisons and jails to protect the lives of the more than 2.2 million people nationwide who are currently incarcerated, including more than 600,000 individuals in local jails. The groups also offer guidelines designed to keep incarcerated individuals, correctional officers, and their communities as safe, healthy, and virus-free as possible during this time of national and global crisis[.]")

  • Call for a Nationwide Moratorium of Juvenile Fines and Fees (April 2020) ("We call on state and local officials to reduce harm to youth and families by suspending the assessment and collection of all juvenile system fees and fines for at least the duration of this public health and economic crisis, including the following general policy recommendations and specific action steps for decision-makers.")

  • Free to Drive Letter to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators Regarding COVID-19 and Driver’s License Suspensions (April 6, 2020) ("The undersigned members of the Free to Drive coalition urge the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators to ask its U.S.-based member agencies to immediately stop suspending, and refusing to renew, driver’s licenses for reasons other than unsafe driving, and to reinstate licenses currently suspended for reasons other than unsafe driving, for at least the duration of the public health and economic crisis wrought by COVID-19.")

NACDL Webinar

  • Compassionate Release and Second Looks: Early Release Opportunities Under the First Step Act ("Long underused and unfairly applied by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, federal compassionate release is seeing a revival under the First Step Act. That law not only corrected many of the flaws in the way the BOP handled compassionate release requests, but allows prisoners direct access to the courts. The new law clarifies the broad range of circumstances related to age, illness, and family circumstances that might trigger eligibility for relief and further opens up exciting new opportunities to seek reconsideration of sentences that are no longer appropriate for a variety of other reasons. Learn the ins and outs of this expanded mechanism for sentencing relief from three leading experts in the field: Mary Price (FAMM), Peter Goldberger (Attorney, Ardmore, PA), and Shon Hopwood (Georgetown University Law Center)." Shon Hopwood's discussion of 'Second Look' compassionate release begins at 51m15s. Also, here is a link to "Second Looks & Second Chances" by Shon Hopwood, Cardozo Law Review)

Government Assistance for Small Businesses

Additional Resources for the Criminal Justice Community

American Bar Association
  • March 27, 2020, Webinar: New Jersey COVID-19 Jail Release Agreement ("On Sunday, March 22, 2020, the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court entered an Order providing for the commutation or suspension of many county jail sentences. The Order, which was expected to result in the release of 1000 people, was entered upon agreement by the Attorney General, the County Prosecutors Association, the Public Defender and the ACLU. This webinar will feature many of the key players to discuss the actual terms of the Order, how they came to agreement and how this agreement might serve as a model for decreasing jail populations to limit the spread of COVID-19 in other states.")

  • April 1, 2020, Webinar: Expanding Pretrial Release in the Age of COVID-19 ("For years, criminal justice reform efforts have focused on reducing pretrial detention, particularly detention resulting from an inability to pay cash bail. While many jurisdictions have reduced or eliminated the use of cash bail, particularly for low-level offenses, more than 700,000 people across the country are still detained without having been found guilty of any crime. As COVID-19 has closed or limited courts and postponed jury trials, pretrial detention has become less definite in length. At the same time, concern about the potential spread of COVID-19 in jails has pushed justice system actors to search for ways to reduce jail populations. This webinar will explore several efforts to seek expanded release for those detained pretrial in response to COVID-19.")

  • April 3, 2020, Webinar: COVID-19 and the Compassionate Release of the Elderly, Infirm or High Risk ("As concerns increase about the spread of COVID-19 in jails and prisons, special attention should be given to those most vulnerable to severe cases, particularly the elderly and infirm.  While almost every state has judicial or administrative mechanisms for releasing such prisoners early, release under these programs is rarely achieved.  With the new threat of COVID-19, the release of prisoners at serious health risk is getting a closer look. Our panelists will discuss litigation, legislative and administrative efforts to secure compassionate release in response to COVID-19.")

  • April, 7, 2020, Webinar: Reentry Planning for COVID-19 Releases ("Across the country, advocates are seeking and obtaining the releases of some individuals from jails and prisons to reduce the incarcerated population and combat the spread and harm from COVID-19. The speed of these releases raises concerns about whether these individuals are prepared, particularly given the COVID-related restrictions that exist in most jurisdictions. What health screening do they receive before leaving? Will they have access to transportation, food, and housing? Should they be required to self-quarantine and how do you prepare them to do this immediately following release? This webinar will address how to make sure that those released are prepared and will have access to means to meet their basic needs during the COVID-19 crisis.")

ACLU
American Constitution Society
  • COVID-19 Resources ("Commentary, analysis, and other resources from ACS and our network.")

American Diabetes Association
  • Dear Detention Center Letter ("The American Diabetes Association, in its position as a global authority on diabetes and author of the Standards of Care for Diabetes, writes to share information that is important for facilities that detain people under criminal or civil law during the COVID-19 pandemic.")

American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • Resource Center: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) ("AILA is actively engaging with government agencies to obtain the latest information and guidance on how agencies will operate in response to COVID-19.  Updates will be posted below as they become available.”)

AJA (American Jail Association)
  • COVID-19 Resources ("The American Jail Association has compiled this list of resources on the coronavirus (COVID-19). We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available. If you have policies or procedures on dealing with this or other infectious diseases that you believe would benefit fellow corrections professionals, please contact AJA for instructions on how to get that information to us to share.")

The Appeal
Brennan Center for Justice
California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
  • CACJ COVID 19 Resource Center (Up-to-date Information on California court announcements, sample motions and briefs, as well as relevant reports and guides)

CCLP (Center for Children’s Law and Policy)
  • COVID-19 Resources ("We are compiling and updating a list of statements from leading organizations on the need to (1) release as many youth as possible from facilities and (2) limit the use of isolation, and (3) ensure that youth have access to engaging programming, supportive staff, and contact with families via video or phone.")

Center for American Progress
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CLASP -- Policy Solutions that Work for Low Income People
  • COVID-19 Response Must Include Youth and Adults Impacted by the Criminal Justice System ("Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, formerly incarcerated individuals were unemployed at a rate of over 27 percent, with the rate disproportionately higher for Black men and Black women at 35.2 and 43.6 percent, respectively. This pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 27 percent, which is nearly five times higher than the rate for the U.S. population, is due to structural barriers such as discrimination, arbitrary licensing bans and more, that preclude formerly incarcerated individuals from working.")

Collateral Consequences Resource Center
  • COVID-19: State-by-state resources on how to use the pardon power (“…[N]ewly revised pardon resources [for] advocates and policy makers to support their advocacy and action. While our pardon-related research focuses primarily on how the power is used to restore rights and status to those who are no longer in prison, much of our information about how the pardon process is structured and operates is relevant to how the power might be used (or is already being used) to commute prison sentences during the pandemic.”)

Congressional Research Service Reports
Courthouse News Service
  • Courthouse COVID-19 Measures ("Comprehensively tracking changes and responses from Federal and State courts; landing page provides links to information on the federal circuit courts and U.S. Supreme Court, while the bottom rail allows one to choose a state to access links to U.S. District Courts in that state as well as the state court systems changes and responses, where available")

#Cut50
Department of Justice
  • March 26, 2020, Memorandum from U.S. Attorney General Barr to the Director of Bureau of Prisons regarding Prioritization of Home Confinement as Appropriate in Response to CVID-19 Pandemic ("...there are some at-risk inmates who are non-violent and pose minimal likelihood of recidivism and who might be safer serving their sentences in home confinement rather than in BOP facilities. I am issuing this Memorandum to ensure that we utilize home confinement, where appropriate, to protect the health and safety of BOP personnel and the people in our custody")

  • April 3, 2020, Memorandum from U.S. Attorney General Barr to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons Regarding Increasing Use of Home Confinement at Institutions Most Affected by COVID-19​ ("As you know, we are experiencing significant levels of infection at several of our facilities, including FCI Oakdale, FCI Danbury, and FCI Elkton. We have to move with dispatch in using home confinement, where appropriate, to move vulnerable inmates out of these institutions. I would like you to give priority to these institutions, and others similarly affected, as you continue to process the remaining inmates who are eligible for home confinement under pre-CARES Act standards. In addition, the CARES Act now authorizes me to expand the cohort of inmates who can be considered for home release upon my finding that emergency conditions are materially affecting the functioning of the Bureau of Prisons. I hereby make that finding and direct that, as detailed below, you give priority in implementing these new standards to the most vulnerable inmates at the most affected facilities, consistent.with the guidance below.") (Analysis Courtesy of Attorney Peter Goldberger: "This April 3, 2020, memo issued pursuant to the CARES Act permits transfer of any and all "vulnerable" federal inmates to home confinement, to be selected by BOP wardens on an institution by institution basis. This eliminates all the restrictions (age and offense-related) that were included in the First Step Act home confinement pilot program expansion, as well as the 6-month/10% limitation of the SRA. It contains none of the many possible limitations alluded to (and emphasized) in Barr's prior, March 26, 2020, memo. It requires 14-day quarantine either prior to transfer or upon arrival at home confinement. It permits but does not require electronic monitoring as a condition of home confinement. It does not categorically exclude any group of inmates, whether by length or nature of sentence, by offense of conviction, or otherwise, although it does require consideration of public safety risk. It directs that inmates at institutions with greatest number of COVID-19 cases (presently, Oakdale LA, Danbury CT and Elkton OH) to be prioritized. As I understand the relevant legal structure, this amounts to a transfer from one "place of imprisonment" to another; it does not reduce or otherwise modify the sentence. As a result, judges and courts will have no direct role in the home confinement process, other than the opportunity to exercise their pre-existing authority to "recommend" a place of imprisonment per 18 USC 3621(b)(4)(B). (Of course, this in no way impairs the court's existing Reduction in Sentence ("compassionate release") authority.) So, one thing defense attorneys can do for clients is to write the sentencing judge asking now for such a recommendation for transfer (do not refer to it as "release") to home confinement. The only other thing counsel can do, I suppose, is to use CorrLinks to encourage suitable clients in federal prison to request consideration for such transfers for themselves. (By "suitable," I would be thinking of inmates who are over 50 and/or ill or debilitated and/or diagnosed with a pulmonary or immune-system condition, including diabetes. More likely to benefit, I suppose, would be those with little or no history of violence, and who have either served more than half the prison term or have less than two years to the gate anyway. But that's just my intuition, not based on experience or policy, as there is none yet.)")

  • April 6, 2020, Memorandum from U.S. Attorney General Barr to All Heads of Department Components and All United States Attorneys Regarding Litigating Pre-Trial Detention Issues During the COVID-19 Pandemic ("The mission of the Department of Justice is to enforce our nation's laws and to ensure the safe and fair administration of justice. We have an obligation to maintain public safety and to protect victims and witnesses from threats and retaliation, and we must also safeguard the health and safety of those remanded to our custody. As always, controlling weight should be given to public safety, and under no circumstance should those who present a risk to any person or the community be released. But the current COVID-19 pandemic requires that we also ensure we are giving appropriate weight to the potential risks facing certain individuals from being remanded to federal custody. Each case must be evaluated on its own and, where appropriate, the risks the pandemic presents should be part of your analysis, as elaborated further below.")
End Incarceration ​
EXiT: Executives Transforming Probation & Parole
Expert Institute
  • The Latest COVID-19 Court Closures and Restrictions ("To keep you abreast of how the courts are handling COVID-19, we’ve compiled a list of all court closures and related restriction announced for federal and state courts across the country. We’ll continue to update this list as additional news is announced.")

Fair and Just Prosecution
FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums)  
  • They Can’t Wait: FAMM’s Response to COVID-19 ("In response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, FAMM is encouraging all people in federal prison who are most vulnerable to immediately apply for early release. FAMM is also encouraging state and local governments to use their authority to release sick and elderly people as quickly as possible.”)
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Federal Public & Community Defenders
Fines and Fees Justice Center
Fiscalnote
Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL)
The Justice Collaborative
  • COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Response & Resources ("At The Justice Collaborative, we are creating this Response & Resources page to share essential information, proposed policies, and other resources for activists, public officials, and journalists to help them — and all of us — confront this pandemic with a recognition of our shared vulnerability.")
Justice Roundtable
The Marshall Project
Mitchell Hamline School of Law Sex Offense Litigation and Resource Center
  • COVID-19: Strategies for Reducing Transmission ("In response to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, the Sex Offense Litigation and Policy Resource Center has published a set of guidelines for law enforcement, policy experts, and others with respect to law and policy focused on those with past convictions for sex offenses.")

National Association for Public Defense
  • COVID-19 Resources ("This page is divided into two separate tables, you can jump to either table by clicking on the name: Practice Related Materials - This table is for practice-related materials such as motions, judicial orders, affidavits, etc. Resources and Solutions - This table is for potential solutions to challenges outside of direct legal practice such as remote working tools, mental health/wellness resources, and community interaction.")

National Center for State Courts
National Commission on Correctional Health Care
National Conference of State Legislatures
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
  • COVID-19 Resources and Updates ("The updates and resources collected reflect the most up to date information through various sources.  The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) is continuing to update resources on the COVID-29 and will post updated information as it is made available.  If you or your jurisdiction has any updated information to share, please contact us.") 
National District Attorneys Association
National Juvenile Justice Network
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
  • Coronavirus ("Given close quarters, compromised immune systems, and an aging population, people experiencing homelessness are exceptionally vulnerable to communicable diseases not excluding the current outbreak of coronavirus, COVID-19.")

  • Housing Not Handcuffs ("Criminalization of homelessness is when law enforcement threatens or punishes homeless people for doing things in public that every person has to do. This can include activities such as sleeping, resting, sheltering oneself, asking for donations, or simply existing in public places. It also includes arbitrarily or unfairly enforcing other laws, such as jaywalking or disorderly conduct against homeless individuals, and the practice of 'sweeps' or displacing homeless people from outdoor public spaces through harassment, threats, and evictions from living in camps.")

  • Housing Not Handcuffs 2019 Report 

National Sheriffs’ Association
New England Journal of Medicine
New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
New Mexico Law Offices of the Public Defender
New York City Bar Association
New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NYSACDL)
New Yorkers United for Justice
  • April 3, 2020, Statement on COVID-19 Crisis in New York Correctional Facilities ("For weeks, New Yorkers United for Justice has urged state officials to release a coordinated and comprehensive plan focused on protecting the state’s vulnerable criminal justice system population - from pretrial through incarceration and reentry - from exposure to the coronavirus. This must include reducing the overall population through all means available, including the Governor’s substantial powers of clemency.")

No Kids In Prison
NYU School of Law Center on the Administration of Criminal Law
Oregon Office of Public Defense Services
  • COVID 19 Updates (Resources and information for attorneys and community members, including juvenile specific advocacy tools)

Penal Reform International
Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform
  • March 22, 2020, Statement on Youth In Detention (Statement to State Governors, State and Local Juvenile Detention and Correctional Departments, and Juvenile Court Judges and Magistrates re COVID-19 Risks for Detained and Incarcerated Youth)
Pretrial Justice Institute
Prison Policy Initiative
  • Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic ("Public health officials, the CDC, and WHO have explained the importance of social distancing, isolation, and quarantine in order to 'flatten the curve' of the COVID-19, or coronavirus, pandemic. Unfortunately, the fact that local jails and prisons are 'amplifiers of infectious diseases' is often left out of virus planning, so we — and others — have been calling for urgent action.")

Reform Alliance
Relentless Health Value
  • May 3, 2018, Podcast: Addiction Is a Chronic Illness, With Lipi Roy, MD ("Drug overdoses kill nearly 64,000 people a year and the nation’s life expectancy has fallen 2 years in a row. If it is your mission and purpose to improve patient outcomes, considering addiction is paramount. Today, I speak with Lipi Roy, MD, who is a clinical assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine, and the former chief of addiction medicine at New York’s Rikers Island Correctional Facility.")

Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (TACDL)
  • March 27, 2020, TACDL-endorsed Letter from David Raybin to the Tennessee Board of Parole ("Tennessee statutes provide that the Parole Board has exclusive authority to parole inmates from prison. I am aware the Board has granted parole in numerous cases, but the inmate remains incarcerated because of the unavailability of pre-parole programs mandated by the Board as a condition of release. Considering the increasing danger presented by the COVID-19 virus, I respectfully request the Board accelerate the release of already-paroled prisoners.")

United States Courts
  • Judiciary Preparedness for Coronavirus (COVID-19) ("Federal courts are individually coordinating with state and local health officials to obtain local information about the coronavirus (COVID-19), and some have issued orders relating to court business, operating status, and public and employee safety.")

Vera Institute of Justice
  • Coronavirus Guidance for the Criminal and Immigration Legal Systems ("Five briefs that provide guidance to government actors on how they should respond to the Coronavirus to keep justice-involved people, system practitioners, and our communities healthy and safe. These factsheets are aimed at: police; prosecutors and the courts; jails, prisons, and secure facilities; probation and parole; and immigration.")

Washington Defender Association
  • COVID 19 Defender Advocacy Tools (“Advocating for release & other relief during COVID 19 Health Crisis: Tools for Release Including Motions, Briefing and More.”)

Wisconsin State Public Defenders
Zealous: Media Training and Movement Building for Public Defenders
  • Public Defender Sample Talking Points: Coronavirus Rapid Response ("This document was prepared based on review on dozens of media articles, quotes, demand letters from various entities, including defender offices, and press releases from around the country and represents what we believe is the most effective messaging for public defenders when talking to traditional media, when posting on social media, when writing press releases, or when developing other content. The messaging is meant to be able to respond to the urgent crisis at hand, while contextualizing the crisis and needed response within the cruelty and irrationality of the system we already knew, as well as the need for bold transformation of the legal system after the coronavirus hopefully passes to move away from a punishment system and greater investment in public health.")