Sex Scandal-Riddled Dublin Federal Prison that Led to Arrests of Warden, Chaplain and Guards to Be Closed, Claim Officials Monday

By Crescenzo Vellucci

The Vanguard Sacramento Bureau Chief

DUBLIN, CA – The sex scandal-riddled federal women’s facility here—for years slapped with charges of sexual abuse of prisoners by guards, the warden and even the chaplain—will now be closed, confirmed federal officials in a Monday story in the Mercury-News.

Although no timeline was given, the decision “comes just a week after a special master began to oversee operations of the prison, making it the first in the nation to come under such court-ordered oversight,” said the Mercury-News.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ordered a special master to provide oversight at Federal Correctional Institute-Dublin, which was expected to “reform” after sex scandals, noting, “The Federal Correctional Institute Dublin is a dysfunctional mess. The situation can no longer be tolerated. The facility is in dire need of immediate change.”

The closure also comes after “allegations of sexual abuse have led to numerous criminal convictions and near-constant staff turnover, with at least five wardens cycling through the prison’s front office in the last three years,” added the Mercury-News.

While noting part of the reason for closure is “employee misconduct,” officials in a statement admitted the facility is “not meeting expected standards.”

The federal Bureau of Prisons said in its statement, “Women at the prison — which currently houses 605 inmates, including 104 people in a minimum security camp on the property — will be transferred to other facilities…(with women sent to places) “as close to their release locations as possible.”

“Closure is appropriate, but the question now is: what’s going to happen to everyone on the inside?” said Oren Nimni, legal director for Rights Behind Bars, a nonprofit legal advocacy organization that joined several groups in suing the federal agency last year, wrote the Mercury-News.

Nimni “warned,” in the Mercury-News, “against sending inmates out of state who had spent much of their lives in California, calling any such move ‘additional punishment after they’ve suffered all of this abuse,’” suggesting incarcerated be considered for release or home confinement.

The prison system may just be trying “to evade that kind of outside accountability and transparency” mandated from the special master, said Susan Beaty, an attorney with the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice, who told the Mercury-News the incarcerated Monday were handed trash bags and told to remove belongings from their cells.

Beaty added in the Mercury-News pieces there were reports of a “chaotic” and “upsetting” scene inside the prison, with word of the closure proving “traumatizing to a group of people who have already been so traumatized. This happened extremely suddenly and without much care for the wellbeing of the people inside the prison.”

The Mercury-News wrote, “For years, the prison has been embroiled in allegations of a reputed “rape club” among guards that targeted inmates, along with accusations of repeated retaliation by guards against inmates who spoke up about the misdeeds.

At least eight staff members at all levels of the prison — from jail guards to the chaplain to the warden — were charged in recent years with sexually assaulting and harassing inmates. Most have either pled guilty or been convicted, including former Warden Ray J. Garcia, who was sentenced in early 2023 to nearly six years in prison for sexually assaulting women.”

The Mercury-News Monday story added, “Advocates of prison inmates filed a sprawling lawsuit in August accusing prison managers of ignoring decades of warning signs, retaliating against inmates for speaking out and providing insufficient mental and physical health care. In March, the FBI raided the prison and the federal prisons bureau sacked the warden after he had spent less than three months on the job.”

Nimni, in the Mercury-News story, said current prison guards could be transferred to other facilities, adding, “There is some concern that what they’re (Bureau of Prisons) trying to do is avoid accountability and avoid liability. What you don’t want is the BOP being able to game the system just by closing the facility and transferring everyone out or reopening it very shortly after.”

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