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Guidelines for Pandemic Emergency Preparedness Planning: A Road Map for Courts

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2007
32 pages
These federally supported guidelines offer local and State courts a framework by which to develop pandemic emergency plans.
To ensure a court effectively carries out its judicial functions during a pandemic outbreak, the court will need to plan how it will address all of the issues outlined in this report which include: the nature of pandemic planning, essential coordination for pandemic responses, constitutional and legal issues, and court operations during a pandemic outbreak. As a first step, existing legal authority relating to public health matters should be analyzed to ensure there is adequate legal foundation for any court actions. Highlights of key components that should be included in the planning process include: (1) formation of a planning committee to ensure that local planning efforts reflect meaningful coordination; (2) a schedule of meetings, with assigned task, timeframes, and milestones that clearly define what is to be accomplished and establish the urgency of the effort; (3) review of constitutional provisions and pertinent authority under State law and appropriate regulations; (4) consideration of technological and other capabilities needed to continue operations; (5) creation of special management teams to address operational functions and human resources issues; (6) development of internal and external communication components of the plan; and (7) ongoing training and orientation of all court, justice system, public health and related agency staff. Since 1990, there have been three pandemics. It is anticipated that another is due. Given the historical impact that pandemics have had in terms of illnesses and deaths, it is vital to develop a structured plan for preparing the courts to cope with a pandemic outbreak. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Criminal Courts Technical Assistance Project created a Task Force to develop a road map for local and State courts to guide their efforts in planning for a pandemic. Resources and appendix

Date Published: April 1, 2007