FCI Dublin transfers complain of poor treatment, retaliation at other prisons

Women who were transferred from FCI Dublin to prisons across the country are alleging poor treatment and retaliation by staff and officers in facilities on both coasts. 

"We have been subject to mental, emotional, and verbal abuse because we were housed at Dublin," a group of women wrote in a letter they sent to KTVU from Federal Detention Camp in Miami. 

The allegations include being served inferior meals, rude comments and being mocked for filing a PREA, a claim of sexual abuse known legally as the Prison Rape Elimination Act. 

FCI Dublin was ultimately shut down on April 15 after Bureau of Prison Director Colette Peters said she couldn't turn things around after seven correctional officers were sentenced to prison for sex crimes. An eighth officer is awaiting trial. 

Dozens of women filed PREA allegations, many of which were ultimately found to be the basis of criminal charges against the officers. 

On Tuesday, KTVU forwarded some of the women's recent allegations to the BOP. 

BOP spokesman Ben O'Cone responded via email that the "safe and compassionate transition of the women from FCI Dublin is a top priority of the Federal Bureau of Prisons."

He added that he forwarded the allegations to the respective executive employees and the Office of Internal Affairs for "further review and action, if warranted."

Tyra Deja Mabon wrote KTVU from Federal Detention Center SeaTac in Seattle, where she said that women from FCI Dublin haven't been given soap, pillows, clean laundry or cleaning supplies.

The beds are soiled and many women still haven't received medical care. She said the women get looks if they want to make phone calls to their lawyers.

"They keep locking us in all the time like we are a threat," Mabon wrote from prison, allowing KTVU to use her name.

She said that FCI Dublin women were given rice and beans for dinner, while the other 900 incarcerated people were served chicken patties.

"Staff said that they ran out of food for us Dublin inmates," she wrote. "The entire SeaTac staff has been very hostile and aggressive and mean."

Mabon said it all stems from the women at FCI Dublin speaking out against sexual abuse.

"They are giving us mass retaliation and bullying us," Mabon wrote. "The whole Dublin FCI population is receiving backlash. They're making mockery, saying if us women would have shut our mouths about the PREA, etc., that we wouldn't be getting shipped and the FCI Dublin was closed down because of us."

Mabon said "they treat us like we did something wrong and the staff is unapproachable." 


Powerless in Prison: The shutdown of FCI Dublin

In April, the Bureau of Prisons abruptly shut down the troubled FCI Dublin. KTVU explains what led up to the closure, questioning whether this was retaliation for outside oversight over the women's prison, which has been riddled with sex abuse for decades.

A group of four women wrote a joint letter to KTVU about FDC Miami. alleging similar concerns.

They cited that the 605 incarcerated women were taken to prisons across the country, like FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas; FCI Waseca Minnesota; FCI Aliceville in Alabama; FDC Miami and FDC Philadelphia.

"These places are just as worse off as Dublin," they wrote. "Retaliation is a real thing for us prisoners."

They alleged that a captain at FDC Miami made a statement that "he would not go check out the workout equipment to assess what was needed because there were no cameras in the area."

Security cameras, or rather, the lack thereof, was a big issue at FCI Dublin, as officers would often have sexual relations with women out of view. The captain's comment shows that he feared the women would accuse him of a sex crime and he would be put on leave.

"Being an inmate of FCI Dublin has definitely made all of us targets to such harsh treatments," the women wrote. "Currently we are living our lives dealing with more anxiety, stress, and depression than we did when we were waiting to be sentenced." 

Kara Janssen, a California Coalition of Women Prisoners attorney who filed a class action lawsuit against the BOP, said that she and her colleagues are hearing very similar, if not the same, allegations made by as many as 100 women a day throughout the country.

Janssen said she has asked the women to document every allegation, especially if they were physically harmed on the bus ride away from FCI or haven't gotten the proper medical care, so that attorneys can have these matters looked at by Special Master Wendy Still.

A federal judge appointed Still in April to oversee reforms at FCI Dublin, and even though the BOP shut down the prison 10 days later, it doesn't mean that her job is moot, Janssen said. 

Still has the power to make sure that the BOP is following its own policies, including providing medical and mental health care, and ensuring that retaliation doesn't occur even though the women are no longer in California. 

"People are continuing to suffer," Janssen said. "That doesn't go away if they're moved to another facility." 

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