FCI Dublin: Congress calls for hearings to investigate prison closure

Ten Congressional leaders on Friday called for a hearing and investigation into the recent closure and transfer of 605 women from the Federal Correctional Institute at Dublin. 

Citing information from KTVU, the leaders said they had heard about "shocking abuses" that took place when the prison closed on April 15 and the women were bussed and flown to other facilities around the United States.

"This level of disregard for human dignity cannot be tolerated," the Congress members wrote. "Additionally, the frantic nature of the closure of FCI Dublin reflects a lack of adequate planning and proper safeguards to protect the rights of inmates."

Some of the abuses include women saying they were shackled too tightly, they were harassed on the bus ride, and they've been mocked and treated poorly at their new facilities, as staff have called them "whiny bitches" after speaking out about sexual abuses at FCI Dublin. 

Each day, KTVU receives correspondence from incarcerated women all over the country or their families.

Some of their complaints include:

A woman transferred from FCI Dublin, who is now at FCI Waseca in Minnesota wrote this week that there is black mold and standing water at the prison there, causing her and others to suffer irritating fungal infections. She said her feet have open wounds and infections. Staff there have told her to buy $30 medicine at the commissary, which she said she can't afford. She said nothing has been done about the pools of water in the shower area, where there appear to be worms or parasites. 

She also said that basement cells are flooded with rainwater and that women are losing their property due to water damage. 

Quiana Matthews was transferred from FCI Dublin to FCI Pekin in Illinois. 

Like many other women, she said that she has not been able to find "gainful employment" at her new prison outside of cleaning toilets. When she asked about getting a job, a staffer said to her, "Where did you transfer from? Was it Dublin?" Holding down a job in prison allows incarcerated women to shave time off their sentences with good behavior under what is called the First Step Act. 

Joelene Piazza said that at FCI Aliceville in Alabama there have been several days of lockdowns in May, which means she and the others can't attend their classes, which also count for FSA time credits. "I'm sure this looks good when they had over the monthly reports, but we are locked down and unable to attend said programs which makes it null," she wrote. 

The letter was signed by  Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10) along with Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-28), Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (CA-16), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-12), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-30), Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), and Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-14).

They wrote to Jim Jordan and James Comer, the chairs and ranking members of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability.

The Congressional leaders cited the past abuses at FCI Dublin, including the sex abuse scandal where seven officers, including the former warden, were convicted of having sexual relations with dozens of incarcerated women. 

After the prison suddenly closed, shortly after a judge appointed a special master to oversee reforms at FCI Dublin, members of Congress and several U.S. senators asked Bureau of Prisons Colette Petrers and Attorney General Merrick Garland to answer questions about what transpired. 

To date, those questions have not been publicly answered. 

It is not clear if and when such a hearing will be held. 

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at lisa.fernandez@fox.com or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez