Home Dems Demand Jail Rape Audit at Calif. Federal Lockup


WASHINGTON (AP) – A number of Home Democrats are demanding the federal bureau of prisons make public an audit that examines stories of sexual assault at a federal ladies’s jail in California the place inmates say they have been subjected to rampant sexual abuse that has led to the arrests. of 4 workers, together with the previous warden.

The eight legislators, together with members of the Home Judiciary and oversight committees and the Democratic Girls’s Caucus, wrote to Prisons Director Michael Carvajal that they need him to supply a duplicate of the Jail Rape Elimination Act audit performed on the federal correctional establishment in Dublin, California. , by the top of the month.

The group – Reps. Jackie Speier, Karen Bass and Eric Swalwell, all of California, together with Texas Reps. Veronica Escobar, Sylvia Garcia and Sheila Jackson Lee and Florida Reps. Brenda Lawrence and Lois Frankel – additionally wrote to Justice Division Inspector Basic Michael Horowitz on Thursday, asking his workplace to conduct an inspection at Dublin.

The legislators need Horowitz to look at the power’s compliance with the Jail Rape Elimination Act, generally referred to as PREA, and to research “flawed reporting and investigation procedures relating to complaints of sexual violence and retaliation.” Additionally they ask the inspector common to take a look at retaliation towards employees members and inmates who filed complaints, the jail’s staffing ranges and whether or not there’s satisfactory protection with surveillance cameras.

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The Bureau of Prisons mentioned Thursday that it was reviewing the letter and that it will not touch upon congressional briefings or correspondence with Congress. It had beforehand mentioned that the audit was not prepared for launch. The inspector common’s workplace declined to remark.

The calls for come after an Related Press investigation detailed allegations of widespread sexual misconduct on the jail and uncovered a poisonous tradition that allowed it to proceed for years as jail officers threatened and punished inmates who spoke up concerning the abuse. The AP additionally reported that workers say they, too, are being threatened for elevating alarms about misconduct.

The allegations at Dublin are emblematic of a bigger downside inside the beleaguered Bureau of Prisons. In 2020, the yr a number of the ladies at Dublin complained, there have been 422 complaints of staff-on-inmate sexual abuse throughout the system of 122 prisons and 153,000 inmates. The bureau mentioned it substantiated solely 4 of these complaints and that 290 are nonetheless being investigated.

These arrested at Dublin embrace the jail’s former warden, Ray Garica, who’s accused of molesting an inmate as she tried to push him away. Garcia made her and one other inmate strip bare as he did rounds and took photos that had been discovered on his private laptop computer pc and government-issued cellphone when the FBI raided his workplace and residential final summer time, prosecutors mentioned. The inspector common’s workplace has been concerned in a number of of these circumstances, together with Garcia’s case, and people investigations stay ongoing.

Two of the arrested males, James Theodore Highhouse, the prisoner’s former chaplain, and Ross Klinger, a recycling technician, have pleaded responsible and are awaiting sentencing. A number of different Dublin employees are beneath investigation.

Garcia, who has pleaded not responsible, had an outsize affect as warden over how Dublin dealt with worker sexual misconduct. He led employees and inmate coaching on reporting abuse and complying with PREA and had management over employees self-discipline, together with in circumstances of sexual abuse.

The lady Garcia is accused of assaulting advised investigators that one occasion of abuse occurred whereas PREA officers had been visiting the jail. She mentioned Garcia assaulted her in a altering stall designed for PREA-compliant searches.

In his position, Garcia was additionally accountable for the legally required “rape elimination” compliance audit, which was first scheduled to be accomplished at Dublin in early 2020. However the audit was not accomplished till final September, concerning the time he was arrested.

The Bureau of Prisons has blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the delay and has mentioned the audit, Dublin’s first since 2017, just isn’t but finalized and can’t be made public.

One of many legislators’ letters says it is “previous time for an up to date audit to be issued.”

“Whereas a part of the delay is comprehensible given the COVID-19 pandemic, this doesn’t justify why FCI Dublin has not accomplished an audit in 2018 and 2019,” the letters say.

The group demanded Carvajal – who introduced he was resigning in January however is remaining on till a alternative is known as – flip over the 2021 audit report by March 28.

The Bureau of Prisons has been beneath growing scrutiny from Congress following the AP’s reporting.

The Senate has launched a bipartisan working group to scrutinize circumstances inside the Bureau of Prisons, and late final month the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote to Legal professional Basic Merrick Garland demanding he take speedy motion to reform the bureau.

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