Decarceration as a Public Health Strategy: Stopping the Spread of COVID-19


Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 12:00pm to 1:10pm



The second event in our series, co-sponsored with the Harvard Gloabl Health Institute, will consider prison depopulation or decarceration in response to the threat of COVID-19 in places of incarceration. In response to the growing number of COVID-19 outbreaks in these facilities, public health experts, civil rights attorneys, and advocacy groups have made urgent appeals for decarceration. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, prison decongestion measures have been adopted in over 100 countries world wide. However, decarceration and prison depopulation isn’t straightforward. It raises a host of questions and challenges around issues such as recidivism, racial equity, and support systems for those reentering society.  
To examine these issues, this webinar will bring together a diverse panel of researchers, practitioners, and activists to discuss the role of decarceration as a part of the public health response to COVID-19 and examine current decarceration efforts around the world.


  • Rahul Vanjani, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Rahul received his MSc at the University of Oxford in Integrated Immunology, and MD at George Washington University School of Medicine.
  • Madhurima Dhanuka, Programme Head of the Prison Reforms Programme. In this capacity, she leads, manages and develops initiatives of the team in order to improve prison conditions; strengthen prison oversight mechanisms; strengthen pre-trial decision making; ensuring access to prompt and effective legal aid for persons in custody; and protecting rights of vulnerable prisoners including women, transgenders and foreign nationals.
  • Lisa Puglisi, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Yale University where she practices primary care and addiction medicine. She is the director of Transitions Clinic-New Haven, a multi-disciplinary clinic that is part of a national network of programs that focus on care of individuals who are returning to the community from incarceration.
  • Leslie Credle, released from Federal Prison in 2018. Since release she has been on a mission to dismantle the carceral system and end incarceration for women and girls.

Register for the event here.

This event is co-sponsored by The Harvard Global Health Institute and the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.