More FCI Dublin women complain of retaliation, including having rifles pointed at them

Women who were transferred away from the now-shuttered federal prison in Dublin are continuing to complain they're being retaliated against at their new facilities in Texas, Minnesota, Miami and Philadelphia, where they say they are not being given jobs that could reduce their sentences and, in one case, had rifles pointed at them to scare them. 

The complaints were sent to Catherine Sevcenko, senior counsel at the National Council for Incarcerated & Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls in New Jersey, a group led by formerly incarcerated Black women.  

On Wednesday, Sevcenko shared the emails with KTVU, which has also received similar complaints from FCI Dublin transfers about thief treatment at prisons in SeaTac in Seattle and Kentucky, where women said they were fed inferior meals and denied soap, pillows and clean laundry. 

Bureau of Prisons Director Colette Peters shut down the Federal Correctional Institute at Dublin on April 15, moving 605 incarcerated women to prisons across the country. 

Her surprise announcement came 10 days after a federal judge named Special Master Wendy Still to oversee the prison, which the judge called a "dysfunctional mess." 

The "mess" stems from seven correctional officers, including the former warden, being sentenced to prison themselves for having illegal sexual contact with dozens of incarcerated women at FCI Dublin in the last three years. An eighth officer is headed to trial on similar charges. 

The special master's job was to provide oversight at FCI Dublin, report directly to the judge and ensure reforms would be met. 

"I'd like to see some public outrage," Sevcenko said in an interview. "This is what I consider to be one of the most egregious retaliation against sex victims that I've ever heard of.  So it is blaming the victim, punishing the victim, in ways that, you know, I thought that we had abandoned centuries ago." 

In response to the women's most recent allegations, BOP spokesman Scott Taylor on Wednesday told KTVU via email that the "safe and compassionate transition of the women from FCI Dublin is a top priority of the Federal Bureau of Prisons."

Taylor said that he forwarded the women's complaints to the respective executive employees at FMC Carswell, FCI Waseca, and FCI Hazelton as well as the Office of Internal Affairs for "further review and action, if warranted."

KTVU is not naming any of the women who made these latest allegations as they fear even more retaliation for speaking out.

One woman who is now at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, wrote that she had heard correctional officers keep a hands-off attitude if there are fights between women prisoners – if the women were transferred from FCI Dublin. 

She said officers have also told her that "they can search us 50 times in an hour and it is not retaliation, so don't pull that ‘Dublin shit.’" 

She said she has tried three times to be seen by the psychological unit and her walk-in attempts have been refused, though walk-in appointments are indeed an option.

Again, she said she was told that "Dublin shit won't work here."

So far, she said, two FCI Dublin women have been sent to the SHU, or Special Housing Unit, which is like solitary confinement, but it is unclear why.

"Inmates and officers have made it very clear they don't want us here," the woman wrote. "Inmates have said the unit team told inmates to make us uncomfortable." 

In another case at the same prison, a woman said that officers are "constantly asking all of us if we are from Dublin. Who is from Dublin? And then we get searched."

There are complaints at other prisons as well.

At the Federal Correctional Institute Waseca in Minnesota, one woman wrote that it's been 19 days since she took a bus ride from FCI Dublin in handcuffs and shackles and she is just now getting pictures taken of her wrists and ankles where she and others said they were bruised. 

And at FCI Hazelton in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, an FCI Dublin transfer said she was told "not to expect a callback" when she applied for a job because she was from Dublin. Having a job in prison is one of the ways prisoners can earn good time credits and shave months or years off their sentences. 

The same woman reported that on her bus trip from the Philadelphia airport to West Virginia, a woman was accused of slipping out of her handcuffs. 

She said one of the guards said, "We don't need Dublin problems here, let's shoot 'em now." 

She said some of the officers got their rifles out of the luggage bin and cocked them to scare the women on the bus.

That experience was "terrifying to the women," Sevcenko said, "who really believed that they were about to die."

Sevcenko said that she'd like the BOP to send women to appropriate prisons – some have been sent to men's facilities or higher-security prisons – and also be moved closer to home.

She said that prison management could also start considering allowing more women out on compassionate release, especially those who have been raped and abused. 

"The BOP is not systematically going to the courts and saying these women have suffered enough. Well, it's just horrendous," she said. "I just can't believe that any bureaucrat could be so callous." 

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