COVID-19 is new, but many of the problems it is causing in the criminal justice system are problems we have seen before. After Hurricane Katrina, several jails had to be evacuated, causing overcrowding at other facilities. At the same time, arrests continued, even as many courts, including the Louisiana Supreme Court, closed for extended periods. The situation left advocates scrambling to seek release for pretrial detainees, low-level offenders, and older, more vulnerable offenders, while also coping with personal losses, office closures and other impacts of the storm. Advocates who worked through talked about the lessons they learned from Hurricane Katrina and what they think it should teach us about how to respond to COVID-19, as well as how to address the aftermath of the pandemic when it, at last, subsides.
- Derwyn Bunton, Chief District Defender, Orleans Parish Public Defender's Office, New Orleans, Louisiana
- Honorable Arthur L. Hunter, Presiding Judge, Orleans Criminal District Court (Ret.)
- Katherine Maris Mattes, Senior Professor of the Practice & Director, Criminal Justice Clinic, Tulane University Law School
- Pamela R. Metzger, Professor of Law & Director, Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center, Southern Methodist Unversity Dedman School of Law
Co-Sponsors: ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities, ABA Commission on Homelessness & Poverty, ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, ABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division, ABA Section of Litigation, ABA Section of State and Local Government Law, ABA Senior Lawyers Division
How a Hurricane Led New Orleans to Change Its Approach to Criminal Justice
Lessons from Hurricane Katrina: Prison Emergency Preparedness as a Constitutional Imperative
After Katrina: Washed Away? Justice in New Orleans
Summary of Criminal Justice in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina
Abandoned and Abused - ACLU Report on treatment of Orleans Parish prisoners during and after Hurricane Katrina
With 3 inmates, 20 Harris County Jail officials positive for coronavirus, battle over inmate release continues
Federal public defenders in Kansas want some inmates released to avoid coronavirus
Self-Care and Mindfulness:
Please remember to engage in self-care. During the webinar, we discussed mindfulness as an aspect of self-care. Here are some free mindfulness options aimed at the legal community:
Mindfulness for the Pandemic:
Drop-in Guided Meditation
Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, at 8:30 p.m. EDT/5:30 p.m. PDT
Zoom Link (includes password)
Please add it to your calendar - it will be the same Zoom link everyday
The Wake Up Call:
10 Minute Meditation Class online on Zoom
Thursday Mornings at 11:00 a.m. EDT/8:00 a.m. PDT
Free during April and May
Click here to register
Once you register, they will send you a reminder each Thursday morning through May.
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CRSJ provides free webinars and resources for legal professionals and advocates nationwide and relies on generous donor support and volunteer service. Your charitable gift ensures that we continue to address the deepening crises in our collective pursuit of advancing law and justice. Thank you!