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NEWS

Short Update: The Justice Collaborative Institute has published a report on the job of US public defenders representing their clients during the COVID-19 pandemic

FairTrialsAdmin - April 29, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, prison conditions, Access to a lawyer

The Justice Collaborative Institute has published a report on the job of public defenders representing their clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public defenders represent some of the most vulnerable people in society when they are accused of crimes with insufficient resources. But now, public defenders have the added task of not just protecting their clients’ rights, but also, in many cases, their lives. 

The Justice Collaborative Institute asked over 200 public defenders from across the country how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their work and personal lives. The responses are revealing: 

  • 85% believed their work as a public defender placed them or their families at risk of developing COVID-19; 

  • 84% did not think their local court system was doing enough to protect the health of their clients; 

  • 96% said that COVID-19 has impacted their ability to effectively communicate with their clients; and  

  • 48%, as of April 2, 2020, reported that they had a client incarcerated at a facility where there has been an identified case of COVID-19. 

Read the full report here.

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