COVID-19 and the Ruralization of U.S. Criminal Court Systems

2020 University of Chicago Law Review Online 70 (2020)

SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 519

9 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2021

See all articles by Pamela Metzger

Pamela Metzger

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Gregory J. Guggenmos

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic is imposing typically rural practice constraints on the United States' urban and suburban criminal court systems. This "ruralization" of criminal practice offers lawyers, policymakers, and researchers a window into the challenges and opportunities that inhere in rural systems. This is no small matter. For decades, lawmakers, researchers, reformers, and philanthropists have overlooked, undertheorized, and underfunded rural criminal legal systems-and have done so at great peril. Nearly 20 percent of the nation's population lives in nonmetropolitan areas, where the opioid addiction crisis rages. Rural incarceration increasingly drives mass incarceration. The U.S. countryside warehouses the nation's prison populations, and rural pretrial detention rates continue to rise. Indeed, the success of criminal justice reforms depends in part on our ability to address the incarceration crisis in rural America.

The authors discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural criminal courts highlighting their research at the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center on small, tribal, and rural (STAR) criminal legal systems.

Keywords: COVID-19, criminal law, criminal justice system, criminal courts, rural communities, criminal justice reform, legal practice and procedure

Suggested Citation

Metzger, Pamela and Guggenmos, Gregory J., COVID-19 and the Ruralization of U.S. Criminal Court Systems (2020). 2020 University of Chicago Law Review Online 70 (2020), SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 519, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3919199

Pamela Metzger (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

Gregory J. Guggenmos

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
14
Abstract Views
171
PlumX Metrics