Press Statement: Government Accountability Project Commends Special Report on Medical Abuse of Immigrants Detained at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2021
Government Accountability Project Commends Special Report on Medical Abuse of Immigrants Detained at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC)
The Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility was at the center of our whistleblower client Dawn Wooten’s disclosure last year.
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, members of the immigration justice community released a special report on the detention facility that our whistleblower client, Dawn Wooten, disclosed abuses about last year. “Medical Abuse of Immigrants Detained at the Irwin County Detention Center,” written and coordinated by Project South, Georgia Detention Watch, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, the South Georgia Immigrant Support Network, the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, and the Harvard Law School Immigration Project, outlines the atrocities that occurred at ICDC, violations of United States and international law, and includes recommendations for moving forward.
Outrage at ICDC was sparked at this exact time last year when Ms. Wooten, a licensed professional nurse at the facility, blew the whistle on a lack of COVID-19 protections and medical abuse, including gynecological procedures performed on detained immigrants with dubious consent. As of September 4, 2021, the last immigrants had been transferred out of the facility in part because of her disclosure.
Despite this, there is still much work to be done. This special report lists specific recommendations to the Biden administration, Congress, ICE, and medical professionals. The groups write:
“An independent, thorough, and transparent investigation is necessary to provide remedies and redress to the countless immigrants and family members who have suffered at the hands of ICE and the private prison corporations that have profited from their detention and abuse. The U.S. government must take all necessary measures to end the abuse, investigate the ICE officers and contractors who ignored or were complicit in such abuse, and provide full redress and reparations to those who have suffered in ICE custody at ICDC and immigrant detention centers across the country.”
We also recognize there is a long path toward justice for Ms. Wooten, who has suffered retaliation ever since bravely blowing the whistle internally to management, and ongoing since the viral coverage of her disclosures to the Office of Inspector General.
Our Senior Counsel Dana Gold commented:
“Dawn Wooten’s refusal to stay silent as she discovered that women detained at ICDC were suffering invasive gynecological procedures they didn’t understand, need, or want opened the door for the women survivors profiled in this new report, and so many others, to tell their stories and to demand justice for their abuse. We join the call for a full investigation to be completed into the misconduct and redress for those who have suffered harm at ICDC. We further call for redress for the unlawful retaliation and harm suffered by Ms. Wooten, without whose courageous truth-telling the abuse at ICDC might still be ongoing today.”
Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.