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COVID-19 and Detention: Respecting Human Rights

Two inmates sit in jail cell

March 24, 2020

Joe Amon, PhD, MSPH, director of the Office of Global Health and clinical professor in the department of Community Health and Prevention at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, has authored a piece titled “COVID-19 and Detention: Respecting Human Rights” in the Health and Human Rights Journal.

In the piece Amon discusses the risk of COVID-19 in jails, prisons and detention centers across the United States.

Throughout the U.S., unprecedented measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 have been implemented. However, “one area where there has been too limited of a response to date is action to prevent transmission in detention centers, including jails, prisons, and immigration detention facilities,” says Amon.

Detention facilities are particularly of concern because of crowding, the proportion of vulnerable people detained, and often limited medical care resources. People in detention facilities cannot achieve the physical distancing needed to effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19. Showers, toilets, and sinks are shared. Food preparation and food service is communal. 

Amon writes that detention centers should take steps to limit the spread of of COVID-19, including early release for those nearing completion of their term and those in pre-trial detention for lesser offenses.

Read the full article on the HHR Journal website

The Dornsife School of Public Health co-published the Health and Human Rights journal in collaboration with the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University.