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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NorCo Jail's Subtle Racism in Hiring and Discipline

Yesterday, I told you that a former stripper and heroin user is working as a corrections officer at the jail. She was hired in January 2014 despite a complete inability to produce a complete work history that would reveal she worked as a stripper and was a heroin user. She is white, proudly refers to herself as a redneck and has displayed both religious intolerance and bigotry on her Facebook page. While she slips through the cracks, many Latinos and blacks who are being denied employment in what appears to be a double standard - one set of rules for white applicants and another for minority hires. This double standard also extends into discipline.

The chief excuses for refusing to hire a Latino or African American is "lack of life experience." At the same time, the County hires 18 year old white kids fresh out of high school. "Poor job retention" was the reason for refusing to hire an honorably discharged 23 year-old Coast Guard veteran. At the same time, whites with a demonstrated  inability to hold onto a job are hired. One black female was denied employment for lying on her job application. She had denied ever working for the County, but had been employed at Gracedale. She was unaware that Gracedale is a County facility. While she was denied a job, the white Madame X was hired despite misrepresenting herself on her application by failing to report her work as a stripper or her drig history.

One black applicant who had lost a job after testing positive for marijuana was denied employment at the jail. Yet white Madame X admitted to experimenting with heroin and was hired.

If a minority applicant is lucky enough to get hired, he is subjected to the same double standard when it comes to discipline.

* A Latina corrections officer was disciplined for letting a visitor with a cell phone get by her during a visit. Yet the white front gate officer received no discipline even though that cell phone came in through that front gate and slipped by that officer, too.

* A Latina corrections officer rumored to be a member of the Latin Kings was investigated for potential gang involvement despite a lack of any credible evidence, and was eventually exonerated. Yet a white corrections officer who actually tape recorded a prison employee was never investigated despite knowledge by prison officials of this illegal act and the existence of the recording.

* A black corrections officer with a hair weave was declared "unfit for duty" and sent home, but a Lieutenant who attempted to enforce the uniform policy on a white female corrections officer was fired.

* A black corrections officer accused of an inappropriate relationship with an inmate was forced to endure an internal and District Attorney investigation, but a white Lieutenant who improperly tied to seek payment for a shift he never worked was never investigated for theft

* A Latina corrections officer who had inappropriate telephone conversations with an inmate was fired, but a white corrections officer who engaged in the same behavior was only suspended.

Beginning to see a pattern?

If you're the kind of person who routinely posts the Confederate Battle Flag on Facebook, you probably are missing it. But it appears that a subtle form of racism is at play, though most participants are probably unaware of it themselves.

44 comments:

Dreaming of Justice said...

All types of intolerance and bigotry seem to thrive in this region. The LVL today features another story about Lehigh University's ongoing hostile atmosphere towards LGBTQ persons and racial and ethnic minority students.

A few years ago, a multicultural residence hall-Umoja House- was egged and spray painted with foul language; now according to reports a gay person was accosted and assaulted on campus. Big, fancy university-$60,000 a year for tuition- and it is in the top 10 for Most Bigoted Campuses. Parents should hold tuition payments until corrective actions are taken to quash this kind of nastiness.

This is disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Mr keen shame on you

Bernie O'Hare said...

In fairness to Dan Keen, this subtle racism was going on before he got here.

Anonymous said...

A Latina corrections officer was disciplined for letting a visitor with a cell phone get by her during a visit. Yet the white front gate officer received no discipline even though that cell phone came in through that front gate and slipped by that officer, too.

No cell phone came through on the visit.... it was already on the inmate. He had pictures of himself in the jail on the phone.

I was the front gate officer that day. Get the rest of your story.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like a lot of miss information that is being fed to you Bernie. Those who are feeding you this incorrect info are only trying to start up trouble. Getting only one side of a story is just not right !

Anonymous said...

This is nothing but a sleeper Syrian plot to get us whites to turn on the blacks and Ricans so they can divide and conquer. Everyone knows they long to control gracedale and brown's superior leadership qualities.

For the sake of our bigotry round up all Syrians in Lehigh and Northampton and inter them in Freemansburg.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:02, When I am getting my information from several sources and what they say is backed up by documentation, it is not just one side of the story. I'd love to sit down with the Brown administration. But this is a guy who does not respond to emails or return calls. I know that a letter about hiring practices was sent to the admin nearly a year ago, and there was only a sit down recently.

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:06, if it already was on the inmate, then it slipped by the front gate at same time, didn't it?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, we all have skeletons in or closets, how about you? were you always a perfect employee, have you every been fired?it sounds to me that all of your information is coming from disgruntled employees that got fired or people that never got hired! lets here your past!why not talk to all these people that you wrote negative about and get their side of the story?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have written in detail about one person who should not be a corrections officer. I have posted her explanation and denials on this blog, which are essentially admissions. No, I have never been fired. I certainly have a past, nut would never apply to be a CO. My information comes from several sources who don't like the subtle racism that exists at the jail. There is a double standard. It is exemplified by Madame X, who proudly refers to herself as a redneck. She should never have been hired as a CO. Her presence at the jail puts other COs in harm's way.

Anonymous said...

A Latino co is on administrative suspension for the past 3 months over something petty. Although, Detective Cris Naugle has concluded this investigation a hearing has been schedule. Mr. What's the hold up besides mind games.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the percentage of employees that represent different demographic areas of LV. I don't know about recent hiring, but in the past it seems the staff at prison has consistently been selected from far less populated areas of rural communities.
The staff doesn't come close to representing the face of the inmate population in race/culture. Maybe there is a sensible reason for this.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

They (Corrections Officers) have a union and should be filing grievances and getting back pay or their jobs back. In the case of (prison supervisors) they are NOT represented by a union and as such in the case of Lt. Rosati can get railroaded and fired unjustly. As for the unhired minorities they can file many federal claims against the county if they can prove that was the reason they were denied employment because of race.

Anonymous said...

I think the real issue here is that the County hires losers no matter what their skin color is!

Anonymous said...

The phone was already in the jail before the visit.... plus the other officers write up was not for the phone it was for another policy / proceedure violation.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have deleted comments that anonymously name COs to support their claim that minority officers get away with misconduct. Don't name names unless you are prepared to say who you are.

Anonymous said...

That Latino officer is not a model CO to begin with. She was just denied family leave because she does not have enough working hours to begin with. She calls out sick all the time and put herself on the no mandate list so she does not have to work 16 hour shifts like the rest of the officers. This officer was being disiplined for her lack of work ethics and laziness, not because she's Latino

Bernie O'Hare said...

Uh huh.

Anonymous said...

NCP hires 28 new male officers, but only 2 female offices. Just enough to work the female units and no other posts. Cant let the female co's get to uppity, next thg u know they'll wont to advance or somtgh. Cant let that happen.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hiring and disciplinary practices are way overdue for a review. Something is obviously wrong.

Anonymous said...

This was fun

Anonymous said...

Dismissing a current employee for a current positive marijuana test is not the same as hiring someone who admits to having used illegal drugs in the past. A double standard may well exist at the prison, but the aforementioned does not prove it. If the CO who you feel should not be there regularly passes drug screenings, I do not believe her past use of drugs should be an issue. Perhaps more frequent screenings would be in order, but nothing more.

I struggle to understand why past work as a stripper would disqualify someone from holding the far less lucrative job of C.O. So she took off her clothes for money twenty years ago. If it was legal, who cares? What exactly is the reason for denying her this low-wage, unpleasant employment as C.O.? Moral turpitude? Give me a break. Would you feel the same if this were a male C.O. with exactly the same set of facts?

Kudos for not publishing her name at least.

Anonymous said...

every one knows theirs two sets of rules & standards. One for the women and one for the men.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:25, I will not use her name. I have too much respect for her as a person to do that, and will delete comments that do refer to her by name. Northampton County prison policy is that prior heroin use is an automatic disqualifier. It does not matter how I feel. Since that is the policy, it needs to be followed.

As for the stripping, I doubt there is a set policy. I could understand disqualifying someone within a five year or even ten year time span of quitting, since it is very possible that the former stripper would run into one of her customers. But once the likelihood of that is remote, I personally would want to give that person a second chance. I would not be willing to do it for a person who tried to hide it.

Anonymous said...
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Bernie O'Hare said...

If you want to slam someone, you need to ID yourself. Follow the rules.

Anonymous said...

I'm appalled at the name dropping on here. Not surprised though. The environment is volatile and seemingly getting worse over time. My opinion is that it definitely starts at the top and the atmosphere will never be fixed until the administration is.
The problem is that while the matters if madame x, other employees with issues of their own, the culture of discrimination or favoritism, etc. are all issues that need to be addressed. Sadly these are only a few pieces to a much larger screwed up puzzle.

Anonymous said...

A high ranking member of the Easton chapter of the NAACP is also a member of the NCP Admin, if racism and sexism is so rampant at the prison don't you think she'd be screaming it from the mountain tops??? If it is so rampant and she's standing by silently isn't she doing a disservice to the community??? We have women and/or minorities at every level of the prison staff. We have an African American captain, an African American lieutenant, 2 out of 4 members of the field officers are females and one being African American, 3 out of 5 members of the classification team are females and 2 out of 2 of case managers are females. Throw in an African American Intake Administrator who recently retired as well as a female lieutenant who left on her own and I'd say we have a more diverse staff than any other department in the county.

Bernie O'Hare said...

We are not talking about rampant racism. That's the point. It is far more subtle. It is by no means intentional. I know the NAACP member of whom you speak, and I admire her greatly. I believe she would largely agree with much of what I have written. If she told me i was wrong, i would listen to that, too. That is how much I respect her on this topic. The same goes for some of the other minority members you mention. Have you tried speaking to them? Look, I am pointing to subtle racism. I am not trying to drive a wedge that does not need to be driven. But I suggest you speak to some of them.

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem at the prison is a total lack of leadership, an upper administration filled with yes men who are afraid to make tough decisions. They are like puppies seeking approval from their master! They are afraid to dissent or show an ounce of independent thought and it's truly sad. I know it's hard but stand up and be a true leader, stand up and be a man.............I promise you'll sleep a lot better at night and gain the respect of your coworkers once again!

Anonymous said...

Bernie I have to totally disagree with you. People in power needed to come forward long ago if racism, whether subtle or rampant, was taking place. I'm not sure an African American would go from corrections officer to lieutenant to captain in a matter of a few years in a place where even subtle racism was taking place. I actually think the entire staff at the prison should be proud of how diverse the workforce is and should be applauded not torn down. I would also like to add this little note to Director Keen, you cannot and will not rehabilitate a broken population of inmates until you rehabilitate a broken workforce. Improving morale amongst your staff will go a long way toward improving every aspect of prison life. I concede the rest of my time to Mr. O'hare and bid all a good night!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thank you for being so nice. I agree morale has nowhere to go but up. I disagree with your assessment of subtle racism. We can agree to disagree pleasantly. How 'bout that!

Jaclyn Vazquez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bernie O'Hare said...

11:24, Since you were not named, I respectfully suggest you delete your comment. Keeping your name out there actually hurts you. I will not delete you bc i know you want to defend yourself. But after being attacked anonymously, defend yourself anonymously and please delete the comment with your name. if you don't know how, ask me and i will delete it for you.

Jaclyn Vazquez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Moving up the ranks quickly has a price. Being at the forefront of unjust suspensions to which the individuals and the union were rendered helpless to the point these people had to pinch pennies to retain lawyers. Regardless of race, in order to fit in with the good old boys you seem to have to be able to stab your workforce in the back, take no prisoners (bad pun maybe) and do anything other than LEAD.
Fact is that overt racism is not tolerated in the county. Covert racism is rampant. The issue is not diversity of those promoted, it's about a culture that's allowed to exist. Problem is an why wouldn't the character of an employee who rides into work with a confederate flag decal on his pickup be questionable but someone who frequents a Puerto Rican social club would be?
There are many employees who don't understand many minority cultures because their ultra rural exposure to such would be TV or music. Even small city locals may carry disdain for other cultures. So while NCP is somewhat diverse in workforce, I believe it can use much more. And those promoted through the ranks should include this dilemma in consideration, be promoted according to merit and not on who might carry out your hit list with least resistance.

Anonymous said...
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Bernie O'Hare said...

I am not going to allow vulgar comments about women here. Go to LVL.

Anonymous said...

Bernie:

7:25 here - I was not aware that the policy on admitted prior heroin use is an automatic disqualification. That would certainly change my opinion.

As for the stripping, it was 20 years ago, and as far as we know, it was legal. If she didn't disclose, and there was some requirement that she do so, then maybe it's a small issue. In my view it is completely understandable why she would not disclose, and unfair to blame her. If a gap in a resume is an issue, it's on administrators to see that applicants fill them.

Happy Thanksgiving. Among other things, I am grateful for your LV Ramblings and particularly your journalism in the public interest.

Anonymous said...

This is horrible,you guys need to stop.EVERYONE has skeletons,if we get down to the nitty gritty the female co's suffer the most after all it is a man's world.....regardless what race we are,the women get treated like dirt.everyone that works there needs to do a little soul searching. We all talk dirt,just remember ppl. KARMA

Anonymous said...

Btw. We can stop dogging the women. Maybe the wives should know about all the affairs!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

For all the civilians out there,if you never stepped foot or worked in a prison/jail. Keep your comments to yourself,believe me you have no clue!!!!!!!!!