Think Justice Blog


Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic

All Posts

  • Brandon Brown
August 10, 2020

Series: Covid-19

A View from the Inside: What It’s Like to Be Incarcerated during COVID-19

In Maine, reports say that the state prison population has been cut by more than 8 percent in response to the novel coronavirus, that cleaning and sanitation has been ramped up, that people are being released “early” on a Supervised Community Confinement Progr ...

  • William Snowden
    William Snowden
July 20, 2020

Series: Covid-19

A New Vision for Justice in New Orleans

In the face of adversity, the COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated one positive thing—that New Orleans can lock up fewer people in jail and still maintain public safety.

  • Paul, a NYIFUP client
July 09, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Without an attorney, I might still be confined in a detention facility with COVID-19

People trapped in the United States’ massive immigration detention system have no right to legal counsel if they cannot afford it. Without attorneys, they stand little chance of navigating the complex and adversarial arena of immigration law to win their freed ...

  • Nina Siulc
    Nina Siulc
June 04, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Vera’s New Prevalence Model Suggests COVID-19 is Spreading through ICE Detention at Much Higher Rates than Publicized

Little is known about the prevalence of COVID-19 in immigration detention facilities run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Yet, conditions of confinement put people at high risk for contracting the virus. New estimates the Vera Institute of Justice ...

  • Jackson Beck
    Jackson Beck
  • Leah  Pope
    Leah Pope
May 28, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Coronavirus, Mental Health, and the Enduring Importance of Health-Centered Crisis Response

The novel coronavirus and efforts to contain it have brought about seismic life changes—including the loss of lives and livelihoods—known to lead to mental health crises, and some police departments, like those in Dayton, Ohio and Portland, Oregon, have report ...

  • Melissa Garlick
    Melissa Garlick
May 12, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Communities Need State and Local Deportation Defense Programs Now More Than Ever

Nearly nine in 10 people in the United States support government-funded attorneys for people in immigration court, according to groundbreaking public opinion polling released today by the Vera Institute of Justice. The poll suggests what many of us already kno ...

  • Leah  Pope
    Leah Pope
  • Aaron Stagoff-Belfort
    Aaron Stagoff-Belfort
April 30, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Public Health and Public Safety: The Critical Role of Police During the COVID-19 Crisis

As the full scope of the crisis of COVID-19 in American correctional facilities has come into focus, it is important to recognize the critical role police play as gatekeepers to the rest of the system.

  • Erica Bryant
    Erica Bryant
April 28, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Facebook Post Put High School Student in a Detention Facility Now Struck by Coronavirus

Abigail Hernandez, now 23, ended up at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility because of a Facebook post. At the time, she was in a high school program for children with serious cognitive impairments. Her ability to comprehend consequences could be compared to ...

  • Erica Bryant
    Erica Bryant
April 14, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Unaccompanied Children Suffer as Hearings are Sped Up, Switched to Video During COVID-19 Crisis

Shortly before most schools in the United States closed due to the novel coronavirus, an immigration detention facility in Houston established a shaky video connection to a court in Atlanta. Little voices cracked through halting audio as two dozen children app ...

  • Erica Bryant
    Erica Bryant
April 13, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Two Years in Jail, Never Convicted of a Crime, Now Vulnerable to Coronavirus

Shonday Williams knows what coronavirus feels like. It put her in the hospital, killed her mother’s fiancé, and now, she fears, may threaten her brother. He is among the two-thirds of people in local jails—more than 490,000 across the United States—who have no ...

  • Christian Henrichson
    Christian Henrichson
  • Oliver Hinds
    Oliver Hinds
April 08, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Use this Data to Hold Your Local Jail Accountable During the Pandemic

On Monday, America crossed the threshold of 10,000 deaths from COVID-19. As bad as things are on the outside, the pandemic pales in comparison with the horrors that are being faced by people behind bars right now. “Prisons are kill-boxes. Incarcerated people a ...

  • Jack Norton
    Jack Norton
April 07, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Albany, Georgia Reduces Jail Population by 27 Percent in Response to Coronavirus

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the country, high incarceration rates in small cities and rural counties—often overlooked in discussions of mass incarceration—threaten to compound a mounting crisis. Decades of investment in carceral infrastructure, ...

  • Maria Rafael
    Maria Rafael
April 02, 2020

Series: Covid-19

In a Precarious Economy, Governments and Courts Must Take Immediate Action to Reduce Criminal Justice Fines and Fees

Poor conditions, inadequate access to health care, and overcrowding put incarcerated people at a uniquely high risk of infection by COVID-19. But there is also a separate, less obvious threat caused by the pandemic, faced not only by those behind bars but also ...

  • Jacob  Kang-Brown
    Jacob Kang-Brown
  • Jasmine Heiss
    Jasmine Heiss
April 01, 2020

Series: Covid-19

COVID-19 Imperils People in Rural Jails

People in jails and prisons are among the most at risk for contracting COVID-19—and rural America is home to a large number of prisons and crowded jails. As the number of COVID-19 deaths grows rapidly in rural counties, people who reside and work in jails are ...

  • Aaron Stagoff-Belfort
    Aaron Stagoff-Belfort
March 27, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Law Enforcement Best Practices Can Help Halt the Spread of COVID-19 by Keeping People Out of Jail

Coronavirus, or COVID-19, hit American correctional facilities this week. Two of the largest jails in the country, Rikers Island in New York City and Cook County Jail in Chicago, have multiple confirmed cases.

  • Erica Bryant
    Erica Bryant
March 25, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Detention May Become Death Sentence for Vulnerable Detainees

COVID-19 has appeared in the United States’ massive immigrant detention system, which holds tens of thousands of immigrants in prison-like conditions that leave them vulnerable to the virus. On March 24, an immigrant who is detained in New Jersey tested positi ...

  • Logan Schmidt
    Logan Schmidt
March 23, 2020

Series: Target 2020

Responding to COVID-19: Focusing on People in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Systems

As the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, skyrocket in the United States, we are just beginning to see cases in jails, prisons, and immigration detention facilities. These populations are uniquely vulnerable because of the crowding typical ...