Coronavirus has led to dramatic changes in crime and justice in Asheville from the courtroom to the cop on the street.
Reported crimes are down, police are making fewer arrests and inmates are being sprung from jail.
And the criminal justice system of the future may bear little resemblance to pre-Covid-19 with lawyers in masks, social distancing in the courtroom and an excuse to get out of jury duty that could apply to a sizable portion of the population. Pre-existing conditions and even age could be a legitimate reason not to serve.
The impact may last well past the pandemic and could finally achieve a long-heralded reform: converting the county jail from a holding pen for the poor to a lockup reserved for serious offenders.