We will catalog and analyze different American metropolitan governments’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a focus on courts and judiciary-adjacent institutions. First and foremost, we seek to map out the reconfiguration of the carceral state as local governments grapple with how to manage their judicial systems in the midst of a pandemic. Along the way, we will identify best practices, so that local governments can protect its citizens against threats to public health—many of which are new threats, created by the interaction between the pandemic and carceral state policies and practices. We will also investigate sources of variation in criminal justice responses. Do cities’ racial demographics, institutional configurations, fiscal capacity, and state political climates help to explain how they respond to the Covid-19 crisis? In sum, in the context of a pandemic, how do changes in carceral state policies and practices ameliorate or amplify existing inequalities?
Assistant Professor, Political Science, Boston University
Katherine Levine Einstein
Associate Professor, Boston University
Assistant Professor, Boston University