FCI Dublin cleared out; no women left in prison

The Federal Correctional Institute at Dublin was emptied out as of Wednesday afternoon. 

"No women are remaining at FCI Dublin," BOP spokesman Scott Taylor said. 

The Bureau of Prisons moved 605 women out of the facility in 16 days, following Director Colette Peters' surprise announcement on April 15 that she would be shuttering the facility because, despite spending resources there, it was "not meeting expected standards."

Peters added that the "best course of action is to close the facility."

In a court filing, Warden Nancy McKinney said the prison's closure had long been planned, but the news took attorneys, senators and U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez by surprise. 

Ten days before the shutdown announcement, Gonzalez Rogers had named Wendy Still as special master over the prison – an unprecedented appointment in BOP history. 

The judge had noted the prison was a "dysfunctional mess," even after the BOP promised it had changed for the better and cleaned house after seven correctional officers have been sentenced for sexual assaults on women stemming from 2021. 

An eighth officer is headed to trial on similar sexual abuse allegations. 

Some women were released to houses or freed altogether as their time had been served. 

However, the majority of women were bussed across the country to Seattle, West Virginia, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma, for example. There are no low-security women's prisons in California and many women have been placed in higher security prisons, with no video visits.

Jessica Pride, an attorney representing 22 women suing individual officers for sex crimes, said the closure shows that the BOP is continuing to "retaliate and traumatize women who have already endured sexual abuse."

"It is clear from the abrupt and disorganized shutdown of the prison, that the BOP did not want oversight by the special master," Pride said. "The chaotic and inhumane manner in which the prisoners have been treated during their transfers is nothing short of a dysfunctional mess." 

Some women have told KTVU that they are happy to be elsewhere; they are finally getting medical care. 

Others have complained of similar problems, such as rude staff and leaking pipes. 

It's the first closure of a federal prison since the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York was shuttered in August 2021, where Jeffrey Epstein, who was facing sex-trafficking charges, died by suicide two years prior.

As for the 203 FCI Dublin employees, Peters said no one would lose their job.

But it's unclear what that means, as there are no federal prisons in the Bay Area, which means workers would have to move across the country or perhaps find another "lateral" federal job in another agency. 

A bus heads out from the shuttered FCI Dublin prison. April 19, 2024 

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at lisa.fernandez@fox.com or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez