Ex-officer claims bias in suit against prison

May 31, 2000

A former correctional officer at the Maryland House of Correction has filed a federal lawsuit against the Jessup prison, saying she was unfairly strip-searched and fired last summer for fraternizing with an inmate.

In the suit, Veleta Harris of Baltimore listed 15 other employees at the prison who she said were accused of similar misconduct but were not terminated.

Harris, a correctional officer for 20 years, said the allegations against her were untrue.

She said in the suit that prison officials discriminated against her because she is Jamaican and because, at 60, she is older than other workers. Harris also said her firing was retaliation for her complaints about unfair treatment of prison workers.

Correctional officials declined to comment yesterday, saying they had not seen the suit, which was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

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