Guest Commentary: Another Retaliatory Transfer

A Foiled Escape Plot & Shutting Down The “Rape Club”

By  Malik Washington, Journalist, Destination Freedom Media Group

The week of April 7, 2024 through April 13, 2024 was extremely eventful at the GEO Group El Centro Detention Facility (“GEO El Centro”).  On Monday, April 8, 2024, at approximately 10:00 a.m. Warden Fereti Semaia instructed three GEO Group employees to dress up like detainees and go to the recreation yard (rec yard).  Apparently, this roleplaying was devised in order to intercept the delivery of drugs and other contraband.  What was confusing to me and the other detainees is that GEO Group employees escorted my entire housing unit (Alpha South) onto the rec yard so that we could observe the absurd actions of these GEO Group employees.  It was actually comical to watch these fake detainees pretend to be playing handball and walking around the rec yard.  Ranking administrators kept looking up into the sky as if they were trying to see the mystery drone that was coming to deliver the alleged contraband.  Needless to say, no drones appeared, and no contraband materialized.

Next, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, at approximately 2:00 p.m., Warden Semaia instructed his staff to cease all telephonic and tablet operations on the entire GEO El Centro facility.  The entire unit was placed on complete lockdown. I began to conduct my own investigation and discovered that security personnel found a note which illustrated a plot to escape from the facility.  The details were so shocking that the proposed security breach was taken very seriously.  The next day, Thursday, April 11, 2024, a GEO Group special response and tactical team inspected every inch of GEO El Centro and went through every detainee’s property meticulously.  Furthermore, every detainee, including myself, was strip searched and interviewed by security personnel.  I personally knew nothing about this, and my only wish was to call my partner and colleague, Gale Sanders-Washington, so I could report on this surprising turn of events. Mr. Stratten, the Chief of Security, at GEO El Centro told me personally that after 12 pm on Thursday, the entire facility would have access to the phones and tablets.  This never happened.  At 9:15 p.m. Thursday, April 11, 2024, I was told to pack all my belongings and prepare to be transferred.

One GEO Group transport officer who asked to remain anonymous told me verbatim that Warden Semaia had a special going away present for me, and I wouldn’t get a chance to write any more articles about him or what is going on inside GEO El Centro.

On April 12, 2024, Friday, I spent the entire day in route to the Nevada Southern Detention Center in Pahrump, Nevada.  It was a grueling bus ride from El Centro to San Diego.  Then, I was placed on another bus which transported me from San Diego to Victorville, and then a third bus from Victorville, California to Pahrump, Nevada. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what the U.S. Marshal Service and federal prison authorities refer to as “Diesel Therapy.”  Diesel Therapy is an unofficial form of retaliation and abuse utilized in order to break the will and spirits of individuals like me who speak truth to power. Customarily, “Diesel Therapy” is visited upon detainees and inmates who have become disciplinary problems or “troublemakers.”


During my long and tortuous trip to Pahrump, I eavesdropped on a conversation among GEO Group employees and the U.S. Marshal Service.  I discovered that between Monday April 15, 2024, and Wednesday, April 17, 2024, 250 women federal prisoners currently housed at FCI Dublin in California were being transferred.


Apparently, the women who were being transferred would temporarily be housed at various detention centers in the Western Region. They would stay at facilities like NSDC in Pahrump and MCC in San Diego pending classification to another women’s federal facility.  My partner and colleague, Gale, and I have been following this story for quite some time. Here, are just a few of the stories about the infamous “Rape Club.”

The reality of what has been transpiring for well over a decade is that women housed at FCI Dublin pleaded with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the Department of Justice’s OIG to investigate their allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.  For years, they were being raped, sexually assaulted, dehumanized, and abused by U.S. Federal Government employees.  No one would listen to their cries for help.  Recently, political pundits and talking heads have been looking for clear differences between former President Donald Trump and current President Joseph Biden.  We believe that we’ve discovered one.  Donald Trump’s administration ignored the pleas for help from these women at FCI Dublin. However, the administration of President Joe Biden not just heard the women’s pleas for help, he took decisive action to stop the abuse.

Malik Washington is a free-lance journalist and staff writer for Destination Freedom and Destination Freedom Media Group.  He is a co-founder of the SRJ Freedom Collective.  For over 10 years,he has reported on conditions inside U.S. prisons and jails.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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