The new warden of the women’s prison in Dublin, California, has promised to make changes to the culture after her predecessor was charged in September for sexual abuse against inmates. An Associated Press investigation into the prison’s toxic culture revealed allegations from inmates that were ignored and covered up.
Thahesha Jusino will become the warden 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 not representative of the 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 violating inmates.
“Zero tolerance means exactly that. The Justice Department is committed to both holding accountable any staff who violate their position of trust and to preventing these crimes from happening in the first place,” the department stated.
Under the previous warden, Ray J. Garcia, inmates claimed they were victims of sexual abuse 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 imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine” if convicted.
In 2020, an inmate’s report of abuse against a Dublin employee received the attention of the Justice Department and FBI, which resulted in a criminal investigation.
Dublin, one of the only federal women’s prisons in the U.S., was previously run by Garcia. He allegedly stored nude photos of the inmates that accused him of sexual assault on his government-issued cellphone.
The accusations made against Garcia reportedly took place while he was the associate warden.
Garcia was accused of digitally penetrating an inmate on multiple occasions, placing the victim’s hand on his genitals, and forcing an inmate to strip naked while he did his rounds at FCI Dublin.
Garcia isn’t the only employee facing misconduct allegations. A total of four arrests have been made amid the criminal investigation in the last seven months. Garcia along with the three other FCI Dublin employees could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
The FBI is in the process of investigating the matter and looking for victims to share their stories with agents.
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