At The Council of State Governments Justice Center, we work with states, tribal organizations, and local jurisdictions every day to help them adopt best practices at all points in their criminal and juvenile justice systems. Now, as part of the Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative (JPLI), we’re partnering with the American Psychiatric Association Foundation to hear how your agency, organization, or jurisdiction has adapted to the COVID-19 world, and how you may be preparing for any reopening efforts.
We want to learn about the innovations you’ve put in place, whether you’re sharing about work you’ve done yourself or ways you’ve seen your colleagues step up to meet the challenges of socially distanced operations and economic uncertainty. We’re especially interested in learning about new measures that have the potential to last beyond the pandemic.
See below for an example story about how one judge didn’t let the lockdown stop her from meeting with her behavioral health court program participants.
Staying Connected During COVID:
“Maintaining that human connection when the participants could not come to court after they were accustomed to coming to court every month was so important,” said Judge Cindy D. Davis. “We needed to let them know what the court was doing to keep the program going, that they would not be delayed in their terms of probation, and to introduce the team’s new probation officer in person.”
With 60 behavioral health court program participants living in group homes and orders to maintain social distancing, Judge Davis of the San Diego Superior Court teamed up with two probation officers to visit these participants in person. “We decided to take the mountain to the members,” she said. With the support of the probation department, Officer Michael Via, Officer Myron Mendoza, and Judge Davis caravanned to visit all of their participants.
The participants were pleasantly surprised to see the court team, with many commenting that Officer Mendoza (the new probation officer) looked far different than they expected based on how his voice sounded over the phone. They also eagerly showed Judge Davis some of their current activities, like an intra-house puzzle.
Photo credit of woman on a video call: SewCream via Shutterstock.
Photo of participants provided courtesy of Judge Cindy D. Davis.
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