U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is holding an evidentiary hearing in her Oakland courtroom in the class action filed in August 2023 by eight survivors of staff sexual abuse and retaliation at Federal Correctional Institution Dublin and the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) against the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), FCI Dublin officials, and several individual officers. The hearing started on January 3rd at 8am and is scheduled to continue through January 5th, with additional trial days possible thereafter.
The issue being tried is whether the BOP has done enough to stop the pattern of sexual abuse and retaliation at FCI Dublin, or whether the Court should make preliminary orders to protect people at the prison. Such preliminary orders could include the appointment of a neutral third party to monitor the prison, as well as other measures.
A KQED story on January 3 quoted RBGG’s Ernest Galvan on the reasons that plaintiffs have asked for the preliminary injunction: “It’s the persistence of the problem over many years. It’s how widespread it is in the facility. It’s the fact that the highest investigative officials within the facility, whose job it is to investigate both staff and incarcerated persons misconduct, just allowed this to go on and on for years.” Galvan goes on to tell KQED, “Our clients rightly perceive that they are at imminent risk of serious harm because the Bureau of Prisons is still out of control with regard to protecting female prisoners from sexual assault and abuse.”
A KTVU news story on the hearing, Facing more than 45 sex abuse suits, judge could appoint special master over FCI Dublin prison, quoted Kara Janssen of RBGG: “The fact the judge has ordered the BOP to produce multiple employees from FCI Dublin for questioning immediately after the holidays and is considering our request to appoint a special master – a neutral outside party to investigate and help oversee reforms – is remarkable and shows how seriously the Court is taking this issue and the urgency of preventing additional sexual assaults.” Courthouse News Service also covered the hearing, Judge rips feds for pattern of abuse at Bay Area women’s prison. The case was also discussed in a 60 Minutes segment (60 Minutes: Agency in Crisis, CBS News, January 25, 2024) and by KTVU news (Scandal-plagued FCI Dublin to receive semi-surprise visit from judge, KTVU, January 26, 2024).
The plaintiffs are represented by Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP (RBGG), Rights Behind Bars (RBB), the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (CCIJ), and attorneys from the law firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP.
Key court documents:
MEDIA ADVISORY – DUBLIN PRISON SOLIDARITY COALITION
Press Conference & Court Hearing | January 5, 2024 at 12 noon PST
WHEN: Friday, January 5th | 12 noon PST
WHERE: Oakland Federal Building – 1301 Clay St.
WHAT: Press Conference and Court Hearing
WHO: Survivors of abuse at FCI Dublin, their attorneys and community groups with the Dublin Prison Solidarity Coalition
Survivors of rampant staff sexual abuse and retaliation at Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Dublin–a federal women’s prison in Dublin, California–and the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) filed a class action lawsuit in August 2023 against the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), FCI Dublin officials, and several individual officers. The plaintiffs are represented by firms Rights Behind Bars (RBB), the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (CCIJ), and Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP (RBGG). This week, the court will consider attorneys’ request for preliminary injunctive relief to address the current emergency conditions that would impact everyone currently incarcerated at Dublin. From Wednesday January 3rd to Friday, January 5th, Judge Gonzalez Rogers will hear testimony from incarcerated survivors at FCI Dublin and also prison officials to determine whether she will order immediate changes to ongoing abusive conditions at the prison.
On Friday, January 5th, Survivors, advocates and attorneys will speak at a press conference about the court proceedings, the next steps for the lawsuit, and the critical need for ongoing support of incarcerated people at Dublin.
The plaintiffs in this case continue to endure horrific abuse and exploitation at the hands of prison employees. Despite increased public awareness and multiple investigations, FCI Dublin has failed to remedy the systemic problems that created a culture of sexual violence and shielded the worst perpetrators from accountability. Survivors of abuse at FCI Dublin–including many who were targeted due to their immigration status and who face deportation–alongside the organizations that form the Dublin Prison Solidarity Coalition, are calling for the appointment of a third-party monitor, access to legal counsel, release of those sexual assault survivors still incarcerated, protection from deportation, community-based medical and mental health care for survivors, and an end to the abuse and retaliation inherent to the U.S. carceral system, among other basic demands.
Alex Mensing, California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice, 415.684.5463, alex[@]ccijustice.org
Phoebe Mesard, Rights Behind Bars, 202.455.4399, phoebe[@]rightsbehindbars.org
Kara Janssen, Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, 415.433.6830, kjanssen[@]rbgg.com
Courtney Hanson, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, 916-316-0625, courtney[@]womenprisoners.org
Formed in 2021, the Dublin Prison Solidarity Coalition is a partnership of people currently and formerly at FCI Dublin and their supporters. Coalition members include the ACLU of Northern California, the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice, Dolores Street Community Services, and Rights Behind Bars.