The new warden of the Dublin, California women’s prison has vowed to bring about change in the culture after her predecessor was indicted in September on charges of sexually abusing inmates. A Associated Press investigation in the prison’s toxic culture revealed inmate allegations that were ignored and covered up.

Thahesha Jusino will become the director of the Federal Correctional Institute Dublin (FCI Dublin) at the end of February. She said she would “work tirelessly to reaffirm the Bureau of Prisons’ zero tolerance for sexual abuse and sexual harassment.”

“I am committed to ensuring the safety of our inmates, staff and the public,” Jusino said in a statement to the AP. “A culture of misconduct or actions that are not representative of BOP’s core values ​​will not be tolerated.”

The Justice Department appeared to echo Jusino’s words in a statement, promising consequences for those found guilty of raping inmates.

“Zero tolerance means exactly that. The Department of Justice is committed to both holding accountable any staff member who violates their position of trust and to preventing these crimes from happening in the first place,” the department said.

Under former Warden Ray J. Garcia, inmates claimed they were sexually abused by staff members and would face punishment or threats if the inappropriate behavior was reported. According to the Justice Department, “Garcia faces a maximum statutory sentence of 15 years in prison, a sentence of three years’ supervised release and a fine of $250,000” if convicted.

In 2020, a report of inmate abuse against a Dublin employee caught the attention of the Department of Justice and the FBI, which resulted in a criminal investigation.

Dublin, one of the only federal women’s prisons in the United States, was previously run by Garcia. He allegedly stored nude photos of the inmates who accused him of sexual assault on his government-issued cellphone.

The charges against Garcia allegedly occurred while he was an associate director.

Garcia was charged digitally penetrating an inmate multiple times, placing the victim’s hand on their genitals, and forcing an inmate to undress while making rounds at FCI Dublin.

Garcia isn’t the only employee to face allegations of misconduct. A total of four arrests have been made as part of the criminal investigation over the past seven months. Garcia along with the three other FCI Dublin employees could face up to 15 years in prison.

The FBI is investigating the case and looking for victims to share their stories with agents.

Representation image: jail, prison Photo: Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

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