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April 18, 2024

Ugly stories of federal prison management continue as "rape club" FCI-Dublin gets shut down

I have blogged before about only some of the ugly details surrounding the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Dublin in California, where sexual abuse of incarcerated women was so rampant that the facitlity garnered the nickname "rape club." This week brought a number of new developments to the ugly stories of FCI-Dublin, which seem to be on-going and are partially summarized in this recent AP piece:

The planned closure of a federal women’s prison in California notorious for staff-on-inmate sexual abuse won’t occur before each inmate’s status has been reviewed, with an eye toward determining who will be transferred elsewhere or released, authorities say.  Following the Bureau of Prison’s sudden announcement Monday that FCI Dublin would be shut down, a judge ordered an accounting of the casework for all 605 women held at the main lockup and its adjacent minimum-security camp.

A special master recently assigned to oversee the troubled prison will review the casework and “ensure inmates are transferred to the correct location,” U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers wrote in her order.  “This includes whether an inmate should be released to a BOP facility, home confinement, or halfway house, or granted a compassionate release.”

Advocates have called for inmates to be freed from FCI Dublin, which they say is not only plagued by sexual abuse but also has hazardous mold, asbestos and inadequate health care.  They also worry that some of the safety concerns could persist at other women’s prisons. “There are survivors of sexual assault that are still at Dublin. And the idea that BOP could just transfer them to some other far-off place without care ... it’s just abhorrent to me,” said Susan Beaty, an attorney for inmate whistleblowers who exposed the abuse and corruption....

A 2021 Associated Press investigation exposed a “rape club” culture at the prison where a pattern of abuse and mismanagement went back years, even decades.  The Bureau of Prisons repeatedly promised to improve the culture and environment — but the decision to shutter the facility represented an extraordinary acknowledgment that reform efforts have failed.  “Despite these steps and resources, we have determined that FCI Dublin is not meeting expected standards and that the best course of action is to close the facility,” Bureau of Prisons Director Colette Peters said in a statement to AP.  “This decision is being made after ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of those unprecedented steps and additional resources.”

Groups representing inmates and prison workers alike said the imminent closure shows that the bureau is more interested in avoiding accountability than stemming the problems....

Last August, eight FCI Dublin inmates sued the Bureau of Prisons, alleging the agency had failed to root out sexual abuse at the facility about 21 miles (35 kilometers) east of Oakland.  It is one of six women-only federal prisons and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains.  Lawyers for the plaintiffs said inmates continued to face retaliation for reporting abuse, including being put in solitary confinement and having belongings confiscated.  They said the civil litigation will continue.

Last month, the FBI again searched the prison and the Bureau of Prisons again shook up its leadership after a warden sent to help rehabilitate the facility was accused of retaliating against a whistleblower inmate.  Days later, a federal judge overseeing lawsuits against the prison, said she would appoint a special master to oversee the facility’s operations.

The AP investigation found a culture of abuse and cover-ups that had persisted for years. That reporting led to increased scrutiny from Congress and pledges from the Bureau of Prisons that it would fix problems and change the culture at the prison.  Since 2021, at least eight FCI Dublin employees have been charged with sexually abusing inmates. Five have pleaded guilty. Two were convicted at trial, including the former warden, Ray Garcia. Another case is pending.

April 18, 2024 at 12:04 PM | Permalink


The prison is being shut down to avoid oversight by a special master. The abusive and corrupt staff that created the toxic atmosphere will all keep their jobs and be relocated to other prisons. And the women will be moved to prisons farther from their families, and have their programming disrupted, so that they earn less earned time credit and spend more time in prison. What a cluster. Director Peters needs to be called on the carpet by Congress, ASAP.

Posted by: defendergirl | Apr 18, 2024 2:07:36 PM

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