RCHE Publications

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

Linda Chezem

Document Type Article


When President George W. Bush’s National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza was released in November 2005, he communicated to the American people that “A new strain of influenza virus has been found in birds in Asia, and has shown that it can infect humans. If this virus undergoes further change, it could very well result in the next human pandemic”. Among the key aspects of the President’s strategy is preparing for a multilevel response by local, state and federal governments. Of critical importance, however, is that local and state justice systems be prepared to respond to and uphold the rule of law throughout any crisis, whether natural or manmade. A pandemic, with elements of continued crisis and contagion, would present unique challenges to our justice system, including law enforcement, courts and corrections.