California orders closure of women's prison accused of maintaining a 'culture of sexual abuse'

Several employees and the former warden have been charged or convicted of sexually abusing inmates at the facility, which was nicknamed the "rape club."

Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Colette Peters announced the closure of the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, Calif., a women's prison, which also holds transgender and non-binary inmates, where several staff members and the former warden have been accused and even convicted of rape by several female inmates. The "employee misconduct," as Peters called it, led to the facility being dubbed the "rape club."

The closure is announced one month after the FBI raided the prison. As a result, the warden Art Dulgov, who had only been on the job for a few months, and three other top managers were removed from their positions by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Up to half a dozen employees and the former director of the facility have been accused or convicted of rape.

Dulgov was the third person to hold the position since Ray J. Garcia was convicted of sexually assaulting several women serving time there. Garcia received a 70-month prison sentence last year on those charges and for lying to the FBI as part of a cover-up. The district judge in charge of the case, Yvonne Gonzalez, criticized the prison's "culture of sexual abuse" in the conviction.

All 605 inmates will be transferred to other facilities

Peters announced that planning for the deactivation of the prison is already underway. At the moment, the prison has 605 inmates, who will be transferred to other facilities as close as possible to where they will be released after serving their sentences. In addition, the director of the Bureau of Prisons assured that no employee will lose his or her job because of the closure.

Peters pointed to other reasons for closing the prison, such as the deterioration of the facility due to years of service, and the ineffectiveness of the Bureau's measures and resources aimed at correcting the situation:

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) has taken unprecedented steps and provided a tremendous amount of resources to address culture, recruitment and retention, aging infrastructure - and most critical - employee misconduct. Despite these steps and resources, we have determined that FCI Dublin is not meeting expected standards and that the best course of action is to close the facility.

'It is not the building that did anything wrong'

However, speaking to The Los Angeles Times, Michael Bien, the attorney handling the class-action lawsuit by several female inmates over conditions at the facility, emphasized the relevance of Peters' recognition of the wrongdoings: "It is a remarkable admission." He says prison authorities are "saying they can’t operate this prison safely." However, the lawyer pointed out that the closure does not solve the fundamental issue: "How does this solve the problems? The same policy and procedures are in place at other prisons. It is not the building that did anything wrong."