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FILE – The Federal Correctional Institution is shown in Dublin, Calif., Monday, March 11, 2024. The federal Bureau of Prisons will go to trial next year over claims it allowed an environment where guards at a now-shuttered California prison sexually abused incarcerated women, a judge ordered Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
FILE – The Federal Correctional Institution is shown in Dublin, Calif., Monday, March 11, 2024. The federal Bureau of Prisons will go to trial next year over claims it allowed an environment where guards at a now-shuttered California prison sexually abused incarcerated women, a judge ordered Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
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Associated Press

OAKLAND — The federal Bureau of Prisons will go to trial next year over claims it allowed an environment where guards at a now-shuttered California prison sexually abused incarcerated women, a judge ordered Wednesday.

In the first public hearing since FCI Dublin closed last month, U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers also ordered an outside legal expert to keep handling the cases of some 600 women transferred out of the prison. Many of the inmates sent to other federal lockups claimed they suffered mistreatment during the transfer process.

In an order earlier this month, Gonzalez Rogers said the decision to shut the facility “created serious concerns” for the inmates’ well-being.

The judge on Wednesday scheduled a case management conference for Sept. 9 and ordered both sides to be ready for trial on June 23, 2025.

Attorneys for the women who blew the whistle on abuse said they have let the government know they are amenable to a settlement, and that those discussions are ongoing. But plaintiffs’ attorney Amari Montes said the bureau would have to agree to “lasting changes, including medical and mental health care,” before any deal is reached.

The prisons bureau said in a statement after the hearing that “it appreciates Judge Gonzalez Rogers’ work in this area and stands ready to engage” with the judge and the outside expert, known as a special master.

The prisons bureau didn’t immediately respond to a request for a statement about Wednesday’s hearing. But the bureau has said repeatedly that it doesn’t comment on matters pending before the court.

The bureau announced suddenly on April 15 that it would close FCI Dublin despite attempts to reform the beleaguered facility after an Associated Press investigation exposed rampant staff-on-inmate assaults. Just 10 days before the closure announcement, the judge took the unprecedented step of appointing a special master to oversee the prison near Oakland.

Prisons officials have reiterated that the closure plan was carefully considered over months.

FCI Dublin inmates sued the prisons bureau last August alleging the agency had failed to root out sexual abuse.

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