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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Keen Discusses Jail Conditions

Yes, Dan Keen really is that big!
News that a corrections officer was recently assaulted at the jail, coupled with reports of melees, prompted some questions to Corrections Director Dan Keen yesterday. There's a serious manpower shortage at the jail, and it takes its toll on weekends. Executive John Brown is exploring a switch to 12-hour shifts, along with doubling the number prison academies.

Q) Have physical standards been relaxed for for corrections officers? - The physical requirements have not been relaxed. They have been modified to simulate what an officer may face on a daily basis within the jail.

Q) Is there a plan to persuade corrections officers to agree to 12-hour shifts? - Looking at any schedule change, the current schedule has built-in overtime which provides officers every other weekend off, regardless of overtime. The union and the Administration are scheduled to meet with a Mediator in the near future to discuss schedules.

Q) Can you tell me when approximately you expect to be at full strength? - I am anticipating another academy class by the end of September. This class should place us in a position to continue to operate the facility more efficiently.

Q) Are there rolling lockdowns, (i.e. staggered lockdowns of portions of the jail)? - Due to operational needs, it is possible to have rolling lockdowns in the jail setting. We have lockdowns for many reasons: searches, fights, mass movements, or even at minimum staffing to reduce overtime due to staffing and the schedule of the officers having every other weekend off.

Q) Was Sunday's incident related to a lockdown? - No. An inmate became upset with staff as a result of an informal misconduct warning, which led this individual to become combative and throw hot water on an officer. This situation is still under review/investigation.

A year ago, these questions would have gone unanswered. Yesterday, they were answered almost immediately. That is an encouraging sign of transparency in the John Brown Administration.

Updated 12:00 pm: Training Time For Corrections Officers Reduced by 65%

Improvements in hiring practices have reduced the time it takes to train a new Corrections Officers from approximately twenty-five to eight weeks. Keen called it a "team effort" invoving both the Administration and corrections officers. "The goal is to reduce the amount of time it takes to hire new qualified Correction Officers and increase yearly the number of new Correction Officers Academies," he explained.

Keen lauded changes to physical agility testing, claiming they are more in line with more in line with potential real-life scenarios experienced by Correction Officers. These changes include: sprints up and down stairs, maneuvering through obstacles, carrying and holding weight over 100 lbs. A one year waiting period for those who fail the test has been removed. Applicants are able to retest during testing periods.

In the most recent testing period, 47 of 129 129 applicants passed the physical agility test and advanced to the final interview round. . The Department of Corrections expects to successfully complete three new classes in 2015 with the final class anticipated to enroll up to 27 new cadets.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brown has his tail between his legs because he was on the edge of a precipice with council and the public. His legendary first year screwups set him up to be a one term executive. His precious sidekick in incompetence, Cathy Allen was about to lose her illegal raises so Brown ate crow to stop council from rescinding the raises or terminating her position. Brown is a calculating creature. Anything he does to mollify critics like you is intended to keep you off his back while he takes care of his cronies. It was damage control by Keen, who is one of Brown's better picks. But don't give Brownie too much credit.

Anonymous said...

Let the criminals rot and take each other out. problem solved.

Anonymous said...

John Brown is terrible! He was terrible as mayor in Bangor, and he is the worst executive ever. No matter what damage control he tries, at this point it's useless. He should pack up his crap and crappy administration and head back to the slate belt.

Anonymous said...

Who are you kidding? Transparency? This guy is interested in one thing and one thing only, and that's John Brown. He knows he can never get re-elected and will do anything at this point to survive. Transparency, I think not. Survival mode, you bet

Anonymous said...

He failed to mention that the real reason the staffing level is in such a state of distress is that John brown and his admin put a hiring freeze on the county and hired 15 in a year and half, when over 60 have left in the past 2 years

Anonymous said...

I like how he mentioned twice about co's having only every other weekend off yet he has every one off. All he wants is the co's to spend less time with there families and work ever weekend

Bernie O'Hare said...

When someone responds to a request for information almost immediately, that is transparency. I have taken Brown to task repeatedly over staffing shortages all over the county, including the jail. I have taken Keen to task over the ridiculous Rosati termination as well as a shakedown that really netted nothing. But I am not going to lash out at a government official who responds promptly to a request for information. I appreciate it, and it prevents misunderstandings down the road. As for it being too late, it is never too late to start doing the right thing. Drop the partisanship.

Anonymous said...

Well stated, Bernie.

Anonymous said...

John Brown will be re-elected.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I wouldn't go that far. He has done lots of damage to himself.

Anonymous said...

Back to reality. Brown is a calculating incompetent whose mission is to line the pockets of his cronies while in office. He is manipulating critics to create some space for his next blunder. Stay tuned

Anonymous said...

Brownstain wants to turn out a vote for the Republican Party in the fall or get his ass kicked by them. Plain and simple, after this election no holds barred for awhile.

Anonymous said...

Your obsession with fecal residue is bizarre.

Anonymous said...

Motive is unimportant. Action and response to issues are critical and show that a person is on the job and doing their job..even if the past says otherwise about their inaction or missteps. Is Brown doing things better right this moment? Apparently so.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the one-note sonnet Brownstain repeater is still not properly potty trained. Most parents know how cranky babies get from sitting in their own mess.

Anonymous said...

12 hour shifts will cause more vacancies! So many that we will never catch up!!! I can't stand to work the 8 hours, but Brown has all of night shift ready for 12 hours. They currently work 16 hour shifts 4 or 5 days a week, so I understand! I believe any schedule change whatsoever will cause even more CHAOS!!!! Thank God I'm retiring after more than 27 years of service!

Anonymous said...

retiring or just leaving after sucking the public teat for 27 years?

Anonymous said...

Suckling the public teat? Apply!