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Government Accountability Project and Project South Send Letter to

Congress on Behalf of Whistleblower Client


WASHINGTON—Today, Government Accountability Project and Project South sent a letter to
Congress outlining the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General complaint from client and
whistleblower, Ms. Dawn Wooten, LPN, regarding the egregious health practices at the Irwin County
Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Georgia.
Her allegations encompass a variety of health and safety violations, including but not limited to: failing to
isolate detained immigrants who had confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, performing
hysterectomies and other procedures without informed consent, refusing to test symptomatic detained
immigrants for COVID-19, and failing to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to medical and
correctional staff who have close and prolonged contact with detained immigrants with confirmed cases
of COVID-19. This is not to mention the overall systematic undercounting and underreporting of
COVID-19 cases at ICDC made possible by fabrication of medical records.

Government Accountability Project Staff Attorney and counsel for Ms. Wooten, John Whitty,
commented:
“The blatant disregard for the health and safety of both detainees and ICE employees at Irwin County
Detention Center is appalling. Government Accountability Project greatly values the courage of Dawn
Wooten to blow the whistle, for without her testimony these grievances would continue indefinitely. We
ask Congress to recognize this failure on the part of ICE detention to adequately care for its detainees and
employees and to act so that these violations do not continue to threaten the health of those within ICE
detention.”
Project South Legal & Advocacy Director and counsel for Ms. Wooten, Azadeh Shahshahani,
commented:
“We have documented conditions at Irwin for many years. The treatment of immigrants at this prison has
always been horrid. These new shocking revelations further highlight the extent of the egregious abuses at
the facility. The fact that Black and brown immigrant women are held in an extremely vulnerable position
at this prison where they have no control over their bodies and no say about what it is done to them is
sickening. Irwin should be shut down immediately and people should be freed. The United States
Government as well as the private prison corporation running this prison should be held accountable."

Contact: Andrew Harman, Director of Communications


Email: andrewh@whistleblower.org
Phone: (202) 457-0034 x156
Contact: Azadeh Shahshahani, Legal & Advocacy Director
Email: azadeh@projectsouth.org
Phone: (404) 574-0851
Government Accountability Project
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.

Project South
Project South is a Southern-based leadership development organization that creates spaces for movement
building. We work with communities pushed forward by the struggle– to strengthen leadership and to
provide popular political and economic education for personal and social transformation. We build
relationships with organizations and networks across the US and global South to inform our local work
and to engage in bottom-up movement building for social and economic justice.