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Trial for Class Action Lawsuit Over Troubled Women’s Prison Slated for June 2025

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The Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin, a prison for women, in Dublin on April 8, 2024. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

The trial for a class action lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons over sexual assault and retaliation at an East Bay federal women’s prison is slated to start in June of next year.

The brief virtual court hearing comes during a turbulent time for the prison embattled in sexual assault charges. It is the first public hearing since federal officials abruptly closed Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin, last month.

On Wednesday, attorneys for both sides outlined the next steps and a timeline for the class action lawsuit filed on behalf of women formerly incarcerated at the prison last August.

“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, and we will continue to fight on,” said Amaris Montes, an attorney with Rights Behind Bars, representing plaintiffs. “We know that the problems exist outside of the physical walls of Dublin, and the same things are happening at other BOP facilities.”


Attorneys for both sides discussed possible settlement solutions for the lawsuit on Tuesday; however, an offer still needs to be made.

“We are seeking real, lasting changes in the BOP system, including medical and mental health care that’s meaningful, so we don’t plan to settle until we have these changes,” Montes said in a press conference shortly following the hearing.

Allegations of sexual abuse at FCI Dublin date back decades, including a major settlement case plaintiffs won in the 1990s. The most recent series of scandals first started unraveling following an investigation by The Associated Press in 2021. It revealed a culture of abuse and cover-ups that had persisted for years at the low-security federal women’s prison, which had more than 650 inmates before shuttering.

Eight former FCI Dublin correctional officers, including the former warden and chaplain, have been convicted and charged and seven have been sentenced.

Since 2021, formerly incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin, have filed nearly 60 lawsuits alleging a range of sexual harassment violations and retaliation by officers. That includes the class action lawsuit, which started public proceedings on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ordered a special master to oversee mandatory changes at the prison following years of sexual assault allegations and criminal charges against eight officers.

Shortly after, Wendy Still was appointed to the position; however, the Biden administration announced that the facility would shut down.

Women who were housed at the facility have since transferred across the country to a small handful of other women’s prisons. Some women have since alleged mistreatment and retaliation during the relocation process and in their new facilities.

According to a recent court order, Still will continue in her position even though the prison has closed. She will report on conditions at the prison before and during the transfer process and monitor how women are doing at the facilities they were transferred to.

“We are hearing egregious reports of abuse and neglect, conditions of housing that’s dangerous, overcrowding and understaffing and medical needs that aren’t being addressed,” said Erin Neff, an advocate with California Coalition for Women Prisoners. “I am very encouraged by Gonzalez Rogers’ decision to continue the special master’s role for the 600 individuals who are now across the country.”

Gonzalez Rogers responded by calling the closure and transfer process “ill-conceived” and ordered close monitoring and care of women at their new facilities.

“People are vulnerable to retaliation. People still face unconstitutional conditions of confinement, a lack of medical care and so much more,” Montes said. “This is clear; this is a result of not just individual officers who are committing abuses, but it’s an issue of BOP-wide policies that have continued to allow people to suffer.”

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