Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
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December 14, 2020
Litigation partner Loretta Lynch, alongside former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, appeared on an episode of Washington Post Live, “Race in America: Criminal Justice Reform.”
The two former U.S. Attorneys General, who co-chair the bipartisan National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice, discussed the release of an important report on the pandemic’s impact on the criminal justice system writ large. The report makes short- and long-term policy recommendations on how to approach the systemic issues that the pandemic has exposed in the criminal justice system. It also calls for correctional staff and incarcerated people to receive early access to vaccines, as overcrowded prisons have experienced some of the nation’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks.
“We talk about the correctional system, of the people who are incarcerated there, but the people who work in the correctional system are [also] overwhelmed,” Loretta said. “They are working around the clock to try and contain this, manage this and prevent the spread. They could benefit from uniform national standards as to what helps and what doesn’t help.”
Loretta also discussed the importance of budget reform within the criminal justice system in order to provide more efficient and humane treatment of individuals with mental health issues. “As we think about the larger issue of public safety in this country—how do we keep everyone safe, including individuals who are suffering from trauma, particularly mental health trauma—we have to figure out, what do they really need? What is the best response, and how do we deploy that?” Loretta said.