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Judge will appoint special master to oversee federal women’s prison in California after reports of sexual abuse

A U.S. District Judge will appoint a special master to oversee a federal women’s prison in California following reports of sexual abuse against inmates.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, an Obama appointee, did not name the specific person to fill in the role but said the court will swiftly appoint someone at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, located around 20 miles east of Oakland.

“The situation can no longer be tolerated. The facility is in dire need of immediate change,” she wrote in the order released Friday, according to The Associated Press (AP). She also knocked the Bureau of Prisons for their “disregard” of the inmates’ constitutional rights.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons said it “declines to comment on a pending case,” in a statement to The Hill.

The new order is part of a lawsuit from mid-August filed by eight inmates and California Coalition for Women Prisoners, an advocacy group, saying that the abuse has not halted despite several former officers being prosecuted.

“We cannot prosecute our way to a solution to the crisis at FCI Dublin,” attorney at Rights Behind Bars, Amaris Montes, said at the time. “This isn’t a case of a few bad apples, we need systemic change that ensures survivors are released and receive care and that promotes safety for all those remaining inside.”

The lawsuit followed The AP’s 2022 investigation into the prison, which shed light on a culture of abuse in the prison, finding inmates were abused by officers and the warden. They faced retaliation if they spoke up.

The prison opened in 1974. It was converted in 2012 to being one of six women-only prisons in the federal prison system. The prison also faced struggles with breaches and staffing shortages.

The Hill has reached out to the Federal Correction Institution in Dublin for comment.

Updated 10:23 a.m.

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