The National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice was launched in July 2020 by the Council on Criminal Justice. Its mission is to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the justice system, develop strategies to limit outbreaks, and produce a priority agenda of systemic policy changes to better balance public health and public safety.


The Commission is composed of 14 members who represent a diverse range of relevant professional expertise. Commissioners include current and former justice system leaders, elected officials, advocates, a leading incarceration researcher, a top public health specialist, and a directly impacted individual.

The Commission is staffed by the Council on Criminal Justice and Directed by Thomas Abt, CCJ Senior Fellow.


Given the serious health and safety risks created by the novel coronavirus, the Commission intends to work quickly, producing multiple interim reports before issuing final recommendations by the end of 2020.

The Commission will: 

  • Assess the impact of COVID-19 on the criminal justice system.

  • Develop priority prevention strategies to minimize the impact of a resurgence or future pandemics. 

  • Establish a priority agenda for policy, practice, and research based on the Commission’s work. 

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