I write to you today on behalf of NACDL first to wish you and your loved ones and colleagues good health during this challenging time. Times like this remind us to be especially attentive to the most vulnerable members of our communities, especially the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions. As many of you know, NACDL has publicly expressed grave concern about the level of preparedness of America’s prisons, jails, and other detention facilities to confront the spread of the virus, as reflected in this March 4, 2020, Statement. NACDL will remain vigilant concerning the safety and welfare of the approximately 2.3 million individuals currently incarcerated in the United States. In this regard, I am pleased to share a template for a motion to challenge the continued pre-trial confinement of at-risk clients. This template is predicated upon a model motion that was graciously provided by our brilliant colleagues at the Federal Defenders of New York. This template can be adapted to other federal jurisdictions, and may also serve as a guide for similar applications in state venues. The template is available on our website. Additional useful resources are provided by the Justice Collaborative.
We know that the various health-related precautions are causing challenges for you, your clients, and your practices. NACDL will continue to share helpful resources as they become available. Additionally, I urge you to utilize the various NACDL listserves to seek guidance from your colleagues – as the NACDL membership family is often the best source of wisdom.
Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, NACDL’s professional staff will, for the most part, begin telecommuting to further the social distancing that experts say is a vital part of containing and mitigating the coronavirus. You should expect that the support you receive as members, and the work that the staff does in furtherance of NACDL’s mission and vision, will continue unabated. Staff is all equipped with remote access to our network, their files, and the Association’s telecommunications systems. We will continue to serve you, our members and our lifeblood, with the same level of attention and professionalism that you have come to expect.
We have, of course, cancelled public programs through March. We are assessing other programs on a weekly basis. Naturally, if national or local regulations make it impossible or imprudent to conduct the program, we will cancel. If you have registered for an upcoming program, we will provide regular updates.
This period in our history will pass. And there will be lessons to learn at all levels of society. Here at NACDL, we have taken steps to prepare for such a public emergency, and we are implementing those steps now. Liberty’s Last Champion is here and will be here for you throughout this period and beyond.
Thank you again for your service to the profession and stay well,
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