Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the Criminal Justice System

The Covid-19 pandemic impacted the criminal justice system in diverse ways. First, the pandemic led to an increase in criminal activities and domestic violence. Loss of jobs, financial challenges, and stay-at-home orders contributed to depression, anxiety, and stress episodes. Such mental health conditions ignite domestic violence in many households. Some parents are susceptible to assaulting their children when experiencing severe depression. Likewise, men are prone to physically harming their wives or spouses.

Second, the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted how the courts conduct trial proceedings. The social distancing requirements entail that courts cannot conduct normal in-person trials, and had to adapt to zoom or online sessions. Technology advancements have hardly impacted the court system, but the pandemic has necessitated technology integration. The primary players, including the judges, advocates, and prosecutors have been forced to learn how to use zoom technology and other online conference applications.

Third, the pandemic has intensified crime, especially in remote and rural areas. The government is utilizing the police to enforce Covid-19 measures such as curfew, wearing masks, and social distancing or no-gathering mandate. The shift in police work creates a loophole as law enforcement is moved from less populated to densely populated areas. The former areas experience high crimes, including burglary and carjacking as suspects understand most police are working in cities or major towns.

Fourth, law enforcement officers are responding to more suicide cases. Suicides are on the rise as individuals struggle with financial challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. People who have lost jobs or businesses face loss of income or high debts, forcing some to end their lives. Moreover, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers are susceptible to committing suicide due to the trauma they experience treating Covid-19 patients. Multiple hospitals and healthcare facilities have reported suicides among their workers stemming from the pandemic’s horror. An increase in suicide cases means that police officers are addressing an issue they were not conversed with prior to the pandemic.

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