On Monday, April 15, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced plans to abruptly close FCI Dublin women’s prison less than two weeks after Judge Gonzalez Rogers appointed the Special Master–the first in BOP’s history–to oversee the facility in light of rampant staff abuse, retaliation, and medical neglect. BOP officials began to load incarcerated people onto buses early in the morning on April 15 before the Judge and Special Master were even aware of their plans.

BOP’s sudden decision to clear out FCI Dublin’s over six hundred residents on a week’s notice has wrought chaos to a population that, as this Court has found, is already at risk of “imminent and serious medical injury, including lack of treatment for serious medical ailments, psychological distress, and risk of suicide,” among others harms. See Court’s order here and our previous post about the granting of the preliminary injunction here.

This urgent crisis is entirely of BOP’s own making and the agency’s insistence that the closure was made in the ordinary course for proper reasons – when there was absolutely no sign that such a major action had been planned until BOP announced it a week after the appointment of the Special Master – already strained credulity.

As soon as the Court learned about what was happening, the Judge issued an order that people at Dublin needed to be evaluated for possible release and medically cleared before they could be transferred. On April 19, after it became clear that FCI Dublin was not complying with the Court’s ordered protections, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order to (1) temporarily stay the transfer of incarcerated persons from FCI Dublin until it can be ensured by the Court and the Special Master that it proceeds without risk of further constitutional violation to the incarcerated population or violation of the existing preliminary injunction in this matter and maintain appropriate conditions at FCI Dublin and (2) for those class members who have already been transferred, order Defendant BOP to produce all records associated with such transfers and allow Special Master Still the authority to conduct a review of these records to determine whether such transfers complied with constitutional standards. The Court has been holding a series of conferences, and has issued multiple orders to address the harms caused by the transfer process, but the Court has not halted all transfers and has indicated a formal order will be forthcoming.  

Court Documents

Plaintiffs’ Notice of Motion & MPA ISO Motion for TRO, 04-19-24

Declaration of S. Beaty ISO Pls Motion for TRO, 04-19-24

Exhibits 1-20 to Declaration of S. Beaty, 04-19-24

Order re Transfer of Inmates at FCI Dublin, 04-15-24

Order re Continued Guidance Concerning Transfer of Inmates at FCI Dublin, 04-15-24

Order re Continued Guidance Concerning Transfer of Inmates at FCI Dublin No. 2, 04-17-24

U.S. Brief ISO Rule 60 Motion for Relief, 04-16-24

Selected Media Coverage

FCI Dublin prison closure: Women describe horrific journey across U.S., KTVU, April 22, 2024

Dublin prison closure lawyers seek immediate halt of women’s transfers, KTVU, April 19, 2024

Federal Bureau of Prisons challenges judge’s decision to delay inmate transfers from FCI Dublin, KQED, April 17, 2024

Dublin prison shutdown on hold as judge, U.S. prison officials spar over closure, San Francisco Chronicle, April 17, 2024

FCI Dublin women’s prison sex abuse scandal rally urges inmates released amid closure, CBS News, April 17, 2024

Federal women’s prison in California plagued by rampant sexual abuse to close, USA Today, April 16, 2024

US federal women’s prison plagued by rampant staff sexual abuse to close, The Guardian, April 16, 2024

Bureau of Prisons to close California women’s prison where inmates have been subjected to sex abuse, Associated Press, April 15, 2024

California women’s prison rocked by ‘rape club’ abuse scandals to be closed, Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2024