Today, Sens. Toomey and Casey will introduce legislation named for the late Eric Williams, a correctional officer who was murdered by an inmate while on duty at the U.S. Penitentiary, Canaan (Wayne County) last year.
The “Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act of 2014” authorizes all correctional officers in federal medium-security prisons and higher to carry pepper spray. Also, the measure instructs the Government Accountability Office to evaluate issuing pepper spray to correctional officers in minimum or low-security penal facilities.
“Officer Eric Williams’ murder was horrific and shocking,” said Sen. Toomey. “To prevent future tragedies and to save lives, we need to expand the availability of pepper spray for correctional officers. While some level of risk will always be present in a prison, Congress can and must do more to protect our correctional officers. I urge the Senate to pass this bipartisan bill in short order.”
“Guards face thousands of assaults every year, so it’s important we give them the necessary tools to stay safe on the job,” said Sen. Casey. “This legislation will lessen the risk of violence they face every day. I’m proud to continue my work on this important issue, and I urge the Senate to support this policy that has helped to reduce assaults.”
Pennsylvania is home to seven federally operated prison facilities and thousands of federal corrections officers.
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