For Immediate Release: December 08, 2022
Contacts: Isabella Beristain, Centro Legal de la Raza | iberistain[@]centrolegal.org | 916-420-1057
Diana Block, CCWP | diana[@]womenprisoners.org | 415-484-9360
Lisa Knox, CCIJ | lisa[@]ccijustice.org | 510-230-6746
Oren Nimni, Rights Behind Bars | oren[@]rightsbehindbars.org | 202-540-0029
OAKLAND, CA – On December 8, 2022, a jury found former warden Ray Garcia guilty of sexually abusing incarcerated women in his custody at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Dublin, a women’s federal prison in Dublin, California. Though the verdict is a rare example of a high-ranking prison official being held publicly responsible for his actions, survivors of abuse at FCI Dublin and their supporters continue to call for systemic accountability and change.
The verdict came after a week-long federal criminal trial, during which the jury heard powerful testimony from eight currently and formerly incarcerated people about Garcia’s misconduct and the toxic culture of abuse at FCI Dublin. Yvonne Palmore, a released survivor of abuse at FCI Dublin who attended portions of the trial, said, “My heart goes out to the survivors. I believe the painful stories they shared in court, because they reminded me of my own story. What the warden did was disgusting, but he wasn’t the only one. Staff abuse was a problem at FCI Dublin the entire time I was there, and it will continue unless we see real changes to this terrible system.”
Deyci Carrillo Lopez, an advocate at Centro Legal de la Raza who attended the trial to support the survivors who were giving testimony, stated, “The abuse people at FCI Dublin have endured cannot be seen as some reprehensible acts by a few bad actors. This conduct required the participation and complicity of staff across the facility, and was the product of a deep-seated culture of impunity and retaliation not only at FCI Dublin but within the Bureau of Prisons as a whole.”
The Dublin Prison Solidarity Coalition, a partnership of people currently and formerly incarcerated at FCI Dublin and community advocates, sees ex-warden Garcia’s trial as a limited form of accountability within the framework of legal and carceral systems riddled with racial and gender-based violence. The verdict does not address the deep, systemic problems within the Bureau of Prisons that led to years of sexual abuse at FCI Dublin by ex-warden Garcia and other staff members.
The Dublin Prison Solidarity Coalition uplifts the demands of currently and formerly incarcerated survivors for policy changes to hold abusers accountable and prevent future abuse, including:
- Compassionate release for individuals in BOP custody who have experienced staff abuse. Survivors must be allowed to reunite with their families and receive adequate mental healthcare to begin to heal from the profound trauma they have endured.
- Access to mental health services from community-based providers. All people at FCI Dublin have been impacted by the actions of ex-warden Garcia and other staff. The medical and mental healthcare at FCI Dublin is abhorrent, and people inside the facility must have access to the care they need and deserve.
- Streamlined access to attorneys, and unmonitored lines of communication to report abuse to community-based organizations. People incarcerated at FCI Dublin continue to face immense barriers to accessing legal counsel, as well as insidious retaliation for reporting staff misconduct. People inside the facility must be able to seek legal support and confidentially report staff abuse without fear of retaliation, as a baseline necessary for other systemic changes to occur.
Erin Neff, an advocate from the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, added: “In the last year we have heard from dozens of people who have been abused by staff at FCI Dublin. We must listen to survivors when they tell us that systemic issues require systemic solutions. The BOP and the FCI Dublin administration must take immediate action to prevent future violence.”
The Coalition urges the Department of Justice, recently installed BOP Director Collette Peters, and current Warden of FCI Dublin Thahesha Jusino to take these basic steps immediately to respond to the harm that has been done and to move towards systemic accountability at FCI Dublin and the Bureau of Prisons.
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, Centro Legal de la Raza, Dolores Street Community Services, and Rights Behind Bars.