WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) despatched a letter Friday to the brand new warden of FCI Dublin asking her why it seems incarcerated girls are dealing with “important obstacles” in speaking to their attorneys and demanding that this unconstitutional observe adjustments instantly.
The letter, obtained by KTVU, was despatched to Warden Thahesha Jusino, who didn’t instantly reply for remark.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons mentioned they’re conscious of the letter and “are reviewing it,” however added the workplace would not touch upon correspondence with Congress out of “deference to our members.”
Swalwell reminded Jusino that individuals within the care of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons retain their rights to due course of and counsel, even after sentencing.
Nevertheless, Swalwell mentioned his workplace has acquired “quite a few” stories the place authorized calls and visits had been topic to “unacceptable delays,” which is “elevating critical constitutional issues.”
For instance, one lawyer emailed FCI Dublin workers 9 instances to make one cellphone name. Typically, it takes a month to safe one authorized name or visits.
“Given the unlucky historical past at FCI Dublin, exercising the constitutional proper to counsel is particularly pressing for survivors of sexual abuse,” Swalwell wrote the warden. “Fast motion is required to make sure that inmates obtain well timed entry to authorized providers with out unreasonable delay.”
The letter was additionally signed by Reps. Karen Bass, Mark DeSaulnier and Judy Chu.
Swalwell despatched the letter someday after Jusino’s predecessor, Ray J. Garcia, was discovered responsible of intercourse crimes.
On Thursday, a jury convicted Garcia of groping, fondling and taking bare photos of a minimum of three incarcerated girls from 2019 to 2021.
Garcia is one in every of 5 correctional officers at FCI to be charged with related intercourse crimes. Three of the opposite officers have pleaded responsible.
With the ability to contact an out of doors lawyer is essential, advocates level out.
The star witness, Melissa, who testified towards Garcia was solely capable of share her story of sexual abuse to her lawyer, who then contacted the FBI. She didn’t need to report the abuses contained in the jail, she testified, as a result of the retaliation towards her can be swift and extreme.
In an interview, Faride Perez-Aucar, a workers lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union Northern California, mentioned it takes weeks to electronic mail forwards and backwards with girls at FCI Dublin and extra weeks to get a go to. Then, they’re usually canceled on the final minute, she mentioned.
She mentioned that attorneys with Centro Authorized de La Raza in Oakland and others who comprise the “Dublin Survivors Coalition,” have additionally confronted the identical hurdles.
In response to Perez-Aucar, this entry to attorneys is not any higher below Jusino, who took over final yr, than it was below Garcia.
“There isn’t any distinction,” she mentioned.
Garcia’s trial has been essential to the ladies incarcerated at FCI Dublin when it comes to holding him accountable, Perez-Aucar mentioned.
“Nevertheless it would not deal with the deep, systemic abuses within the jail system,” she mentioned, “when it comes to lack of entry to attorneys and getting psychological well being providers.”
Thahesha Jusino, the warden at FCI Dublin.
Beneath the Jail Rape Elimination Act laws, incarcerated individuals should be capable of report sexual abuse or harassment with out affect from an entity with custody over them, Swalwell reminded Jusino.
Meaning, Swalwell wrote, that they have to be capable of contact their lawyer and to different advocates “with out undue affect and free from interception from FCI Dublin workers.”
Apart from entry to attorneys, Swalwell additionally mentioned that he’s conscious of “critical gaps” in psychological and medical healthcare being supplied to survivors of sexual assault contained in the jail.
Swalwell famous that there isn’t any entry to exterior confidential psychological well being providers at FCI Dublin as Tri-Valley Haven, an area rape disaster middle, declined to resume its contract as a result of “excessive difficulties” in even accessing shoppers on the jail.
“The jail is not permitting them to enter,” Perez-Aucar mentioned.
Swalwell famous that there have been failures with the previous administration at FCI Dublin – particularly Garcia’s management.
And he mentioned he expects Jusino will act otherwise and take “quick steps” to treatment the problems he raised.
Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. E mail Lisa at [email protected] or name her at 510-874-0139. Or observe her on Twitter @ljfernandez
This story was reported in Oakland, Calif.