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The Issue

The U.S. criminal justice (CJ) system is unprepared to address the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation. Very few CJ agencies have taken any action to remedy–or even to acknowledge–the many ways these crises intersect and harm public safety, public health, equity, and the occupational health and safety of their personnel.


The Action Lab’s new Climate and Public Safety (CAPS) initiative was created to fill this void. Our goals are to map the intersections; build a community of practice featuring CJ leaders and personnel, policymakers, scholars, community stakeholders, and advocates; translate and disseminate the existing research base; conduct and facilitate original research; and collect and develop tools that policymakers and agency leaders can use in order to mitigate and adapt to these intertwining challenges in ways that improve public safety, public health, resilience, and thriving among CJ personnel and the communities they serve.

When Crises Collide: Mapping the Intersections of Climate, Pollution, Crime, and Punishment
Jeremiah Goulka et al., Northeastern University Law Review
Climate and Public Safety Resource Bank (in development)
Infosheets (in development)
Locked in a Hotbox: The Impact of Climate Change on the Incarcerated
Harvard Law School, Petrie-Flom Center
April 9, 2024, 12:30pm (ET) by Zoom
Register here
Next Steps

  • Convene practitioners and scholars

  • Develop community of practice and research agenda

  • Build advisory board

  • Complete and launch resource bank as a knowledge hub

  • Conduct landscape assessments and gather lessons learned from practitioners nationwide

  • Develop the evidence base through original research

  • Developing toolkits and training curricula for CJ leaders and personnel

  • Build a menu of mitigation and adaptation strategies and implementation toolkits and training for CJ leaders and personnel to employ to help personnel and communities thrive in the coming years

When Crises Collide Article Launch
Get Involved

We are actively seeking collaborators among scholars, practitioners, policymakers, advocates, and community stakeholders. We are also seeking graduate students and interns. 

For further information on this page, please contact Sunyou Kang

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