Climate Change and the Criminal Justice System
43 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2020
Date Written: August 1, 2020
The past decade has been the warmest decade in history. But while there has been a great deal of attention paid to issues of infrastructure sustainability, less attention has been focused on the impact of climate change on our criminal justice system.This paper identifies how we can anticipate climate change will affect and create new challenges for law enforcement, prisons, prosecutorial and defense agencies, government offices, and communities.This article first examines three ways climate change is challenging our criminal justice system –from altering the types of crimes committed, to detrimentally impacting prisons, jails, and other criminal justice institutions, to challenging traditional doctrines of criminal law such as the necessity and duress defenses and causation. Drawing in part on lessons from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this article makes ten recommendations on how such challenges can be met.
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