An intensive investigation and personnel changes are underway at the Dublin federal women’s prison where widespread sexual abuse has been reported by The Associated Press.
Inmates and staff at the Dublin prison reported rampant sexual abuse and cover-ups. They said that authorities ignored their cries for help.
The facility has lost a lot of its credibility, but replacing the warden and two associate wardens at the Federal Correctional Institute in Dublin is a sign of progress, AP reported.
At least five employees, including the warden, were charged with sexual misconduct against female prisoners. After an AP investigation and an angry call from a congresswoman, the head of the federal BOP submitted his resignation.
“Staff misconduct, at any level, will not be tolerated, and our efforts to root it out are far from over,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, who was briefed on the issues within the federal prison system.
Newly installed Warden Thahesha Jusino said, “It’s horrible… I’ve never been part of a situation like this. This is really unprecedented.”
Jusino is the daughter of a former federal prison warden. Since 1998, she has been the associate warden at two prisons and warden at the federal prison in Victorville, Calif.
The numerous complaints that were filed by inmates and staff members ranged from sexual harassment and misconduct to violations of the Prison Rape Elimination Act and federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws.
Attorney General Merrick Garland discussed the Dublin problems during a U.S. Senate budget hearing. He gave credit to Manaco for forming the task force that is investigating Dublin’s failings.
During the week of March 7, the AP investigators and the task force, which consisted of senior agency officials, visited the facility east of San Francisco to investigate the abuse claims.
Those in charge at the facility were known to demoralize the workforce, AP stated. The institution was known to many as the “rape club,” according to AP.
Three female inmates sued the Bureau of Prisons in 1996, when some males were incarcerated at Dublin. The women claimed they were “sold like sex slaves” to male inmates who raped them.
No one was arrested; however, the agency settled the lawsuit for $500,000. In the early 2010s, about a dozen employees were removed from the facility for sexually abusing inmates. None of the employees in that incident were arrested, AP reported.
One employee was allowed to retire after videotapes of him having sex with inmates surfaced. In June 2021 the previous warden, Ray J. Garcia, a chaplain and three other employees were charged with sexually abusing inmates.
A search of Garcia’s government-issued phone revealed images of naked inmates.
More recently, two of the five employees have pleaded guilty; Since March, nine additional workers have been placed on administrative leave.
The BOP “is never proactive. They’re reactive.” They’re only doing this because of congressional interest and “they know they have to act,” said Ed Canales, Dublin union president.
“The trust has been broken with our inmate population, which is beyond unacceptable. It’s been broken with our staff, and it has been broken with the public… We need to show that we’re committed to this,” Jusino said.