AFGE Launches Justice for Jose Campaign

Categories: DOJ, BOP

Joseph Cabrera Sablan was already serving a life sentence when he killed Correctional Officer José Rivera at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater, Calif., seven years ago this month. He admitted to stabbing Jose 27 times with a homemade shank when the unarmed 22-year-old officer was returning inmates to their cells for a headcount.

But Cabrera Sablan won’t pay the ultimate price for taking José's life. He negotiated an agreement that will allow him to serve a life sentence, which he is already serving. Another inmate charged with killing José, Ninete Leon Guerrero, got the same deal last year when he agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence.

"My son gave his entire life to his country. He believed in the justice system and it failed him."

 - Terry Rivera, Mother of José Rivera

Both inmates must be held accountable for the murder they committed.

AFGE has launched a campaign to see justice done for Jose, who was a member of AFGE Local 1242. Visit for more information on how you can help bring justice to Jose and prevent future killings of our officers.

AFGE also supports a bill, H.R. 814 – the Thin Blue Line Act – that would make murdering a correctional worker, firefighter, police officer, or other first responder in federal jurisdiction a capital offense.

With this legislation, we could ensure that every fallen correctional worker and their family receives the justice they have earned, and send a message to every inmate that correctional worker’s lives matter.

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