When COVID hit and court proceedings moved online, the digital divide quickly became an access to justice divide.
“The justice system is relying on technology to operate efficiently during the pandemic, but this assumes that technology is accessible to all, and as we see with our clients — that just isn’t the case,” says Jolie Main, a CELHP attorney at Northeast Legal Aid (NLA).
In response NLA set up a COVID-safe technology space for their clients to use a computer to attend hearings and mediations. This space enables NLA’s clients to engage fully in their court proceedings, crucial for their ability to exercise their due process rights. Access to technology is essential to access to justice.
To learn more about the digital divide in your community, check out the ACLU of Massachusetts’ recent report on internet access across the Commonwealth.