Activists for criminal justice reform are urging the Justice Department to assist the release of women who were sexually abused by prison officials at a federal women’s prison in California.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco In Famm'S Letter
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), addressed a letter to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco on Tuesday, urging her to direct the Justice Department to file motions for compassionate release for people who have been mistreated at the prison. It comes on the heels of Associated Press reporting that revealed a toxic culture that allowed sexual abuse of inmates to continue for years at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, a women’s-only facility that is affectionately known as the “rape club” by those who have worked there over the years.

FAMM’s Letter

Famm

The letter is the latest effort by advocacy groups and members of Congress to ratchet down oversight of the beleaguered federal prison system and push for action at the top levels of the Justice Department. Monaco and other Justice Department officials have made revamping the Bureau of Prisons a top priority, as well as appointing a new warden at Dublin Prison. Inmates were forced to pose nude for the former warden, who was arrested and accused of sexually assaulting them while using a government-issued cell phone to take images of them.

After that warden was let go, and another was put into place to try and silence other BOP employees. That warden was also let go when the BOP’s attempt at the coverup failed. In an effort to cover themselves, the BOP director himself made a plea to employees to stop breaking the law.

Currently, the group is urging Monaco to instruct the Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Attorney’s offices to support requests for compassionate release for any victims, which might result in the release of those individuals from prison.

Compassionate Release

“None of these women was sentenced to sexual violence and torture,” “Yet we now know they were trapped with their abusers, with no ability to protect themselves or flee, making their incarceration an exceptionally degrading and terrifying experience.”

FAMM President Kevin Ring said in a statement.

Other issues faced by FCI Dublin aka “Rape Club”

Ray J. Garcia, a former warden at Dublin Correctional Facility, is one of five Dublin employees who have been charged with sexually abusing detainees since June of last year. On many occasions between December 2019 and March 2020, Garcia allegedly molested an inmate and forced her and another inmate to strip naked so that he could snap pictures of them as he made his rounds. Investigators claim that they discovered the photographs on his government-issued cellphone during their investigation. The Associated Press has requested an interview with him, but his lawyer has declined.

Along with the warden the food services supervisor, a prison Chaplin (who already plead guilty) and other employees were also charged.

The Bureau of Prisons has placed nine additional employees on administrative leave since March, bringing the total number of administrative leaves to nine.

“After failing to protect them, the very least BOP can do now is let these women leave and begin to heal,”

Ring said.

Because of the Associated Press’ reporting on the federal prison system, it has been revealed that there have been layers upon layers of abuse, neglect, and leadership mistakes — including rampant sexual abuse by employees, severe staffing shortage (though the BOP director disagrees with this), inmate escapes, and mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic — that have led directly to the agency’s director announcing his resignation earlier this year.

In addition to that, the same facility FCI Dublin also lacks the proper amount of cameras (video) for proper security monitoring and contains hazardous conditions like mold and other contamination.

Attempts to reach a spokeswoman for the Justice Department for comment on the letter were not immediately returned by press time. In a statement, Monaco stated that she is dedicated to holding Bureau of Prisons employees accountable, including through the filing of criminal charges.

In the past we have seen close to 100 advocacy groups do the same, though not asking for compassionate release, have advocated for the inmates at this specific facility.