Lawsuit Proceeds Even after the Closure of FCI Dublin Facility

PC: Jesstess87
Via Wikimedia Commons

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Oakland, CA – Organizers discussed the status of the class action lawsuit against FCI Dublin in the case of California Coalition for Women Prisoners, et. al. v. United States of America Federal Bureau of Prisons, et. al., that resulted in the closing of that facility last month.

In March, 12 survivors at Dublin filed lawsuits against the federal women’s prison in Dublin.

According to Rights Behind Bars, these lawsuits all reflected “sexual abuse at FCI Dublin has been enabled by a system where coercion is the norm, outside scrutiny is rare, and officers protect one another from accountability at all costs.”

These findings led to the surprise closure of the Dublin Facility on April 15.  Problems include a culture of “rampant sexual abuse” leading to eight officers being charged with sex crimes since 2022, seven of whom have been found guilty and sent to prisons.

The move came just a week after a special master assumed control of the facility after it was raided by the FBI in March.

Coming out of a status conference, attorneys said on Wednesday that the “case will continue” with a trial date set for June 20.

The court ordered that the Special Master will continue to track complaints.

“What’s clear coming out of the case management conference today is that the case has not and will not end with the closure of Dublin,” said Amaris Montes, attorney representing plaintiffs, Rights Behind Bars.  “The BOP believes that by shuttering the doors of the facility, that somehow they will avoid accountability by forcibly moving our clients out of the physical walls of Dublin. But we know that the problems exist outside of the physical walls of Dublin and that the same things are happening at all BOP facilities.”

Montes explained, “People are being sexually assaulted in the same way in Carswell and Tallahassee and so many other BOP facilities. People are similarly vulnerable to rampant retaliation and silencing of people who do want to report in these other facilities as well.”

She believes, “People still face unconstitutional conditions of confinement, a lack of medical care, unsanitary cells, and so much more.”

While BOP has attempted to blame individual officers who have committed abuses, the plaintiffs maintain this “is an issue of the whole BOP and BOP wide policies that have continued to allow people to suffer from these same harms.”

Montes said “while the BOP has attempted to avoid liability and simply close Dublin, what they did was to open themselves up for the court and the public to become aware of the fact that these problems exist in all of these facilities and that it’s an issue of the BOP.”

Erin Neff with California Coalition for Women Prisoners as well as the Dublin Solidarity Coalition was also at the court on Thursday.

She said that “while it didn’t address what the Coalition, California Coalition for Women Prisoners has been fighting for, it was good to see that the trial is moving forward and that this trial for these eight plaintiffs has not been brushed under the rug that is going to continue to be fought for.”

Neff explained, “We are hearing of continued egregious reports of abuse and neglect conditions of housing that is dangerous and inhumane, overcrowding, understaffing of people who are not at all getting their prior medical needs addressed that were not being addressed at Dublin and they continue to not be addressed as well as new conditions due to their transfer injury from the inept transfer of these prisoners.”

She also noted, “The BP’s attempt to move this problem from one central location to around the country is not going to diffuse our effort. In fact, it feels like it is strengthening it.”

She reiterated that “this is not something that is isolated to just one facility. This is system-wide abuse has been going on for years. The problems of Dublin are not unique to Dublin. They are across the country.”

Nell indicated that she was encouraged that the judge will continue the Special Master’s role for the 605 individuals across the country and they will be supported.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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