COVID-19 in Detention: Conditions, Ethics, and Solutions

Negligent treatment and inadequate medical care have long been hallmarks of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities. The situation was only made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving detainees without access to recommended protective measures such as soap, hand sanitizer, and the space to socially distance.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) will hosted a discussion on the realities of COVID-19 in detention and solutions needed to ensure the health and human rights of people in detention. The conversation was moderated by Ranit Mishori, MD, MHS, PHR senior medical advisor and Asylum Network member and trainer, professor of family medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, and interim chief public health officer at Georgetown University.


  • Dana Gold, JD is senior counsel and director of education at the Government Accountability Project.
  • Katherine Peeler, MD is a practicing pediatric critical care physician at Boston Children’s Hospital, instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, medical director of Harvard Medical School’s Asylum Clinic, and a PHR medical expert.
  • Dawn Wooten, LPN is a nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center, an ICE detention center in Ocilla, Georgia, who was demoted after raising concerns about inadequate medical care of detainees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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