COVID-19 and the Justice System

Just a reminder that Civics Learning Project already has other articles on justice system reform and juvenile justice.


We’ll be finishing out Current Events for this (now virtual) school year with a series on how the coronavirus is impacting voting, the justice system, the economy, the census, Oregon, and other current events. 

This week, we’re looking at how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the justice system. Below you’ll find links to articles, videos, podcasts, and lessons for you to use!


Essential Questions:

  • What is the justice system?
  • How do you think the justice system should respond to COVID-19?
  • What are the rights of someone in prison? What do you think the justice system should do for prisoners during the coronavirus pandemic?





‘You Just Get Written Off’: One Inmate On Life On Rikers During The Pandemic – NPR: All Things Considered, April 18, 2020

Prisoners trapped in the path of COVID-19 – Columbia Journalism Review, April 10, 2020

How Is The Justice System Responding To COVID-19’s Spread – NPR: Morning Edition, March 30, 2020


Recent News Articles:

Oregon’s Jail Population Down 45% During COVID-19 Crisis – OPB, April 24, 2020

Inmates In Washington State Protest After Fellow Prisoners Test Positive For COVID-19 – KPBS, April 9, 2020

COVID-19 and the Justice System – NCCD, April 8, 2020

Oregon’s justice system adjusts for COVID-19 response – KOIN, March 19, 2020

Latest COVID-19 bill tackles justice system needs – Minnesota Lawyer, April 20, 2020

How the coronavirus is upending the criminal justice system – American Bar Association Blog, March 19

COVID-19 Resources and Information – Oregon Justice Resource Center

Criminal Justice System Response to COVID-19  – NCSL


Lesson Plans on this topic:

Justice for All – New York Times: The Learning Network


Lesson Plans regarding Media & News Literacy (general):

Media Literacy Resources – Newseum

News & Media Literacy Lessons – Common Sense

Media Misinformation, Viral Deception, and “Fake News” – University of Wyoming

Evaluating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth’ World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning About Fake News – New York Times Lessons