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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 13, 2018 02:26 PM
From: Representative Michael K. Hanna
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution Directing the Joint State Government Committee to Conduct a Study on the Safety and Security of Staff and Corrections Officers in State Prisons
Earlier this year, tragedy struck at SCI-Somerset when Sgt. Mark J. Baserman died from injuries sustained in an unprovoked, brutal attack by an inmate with a history of violence who was already serving a life sentence. Sgt. Baserman gave his life to protect Pennsylvania from its most violent criminals.

Correctional officers play a pivotal role within the prison system. Officers must remain continually alert during long shifts as they deal with a number of hazards each day, which boosts their physical and mental stress. During body and cell searches and while transporting inmates, officers are at heightened risk of being attacked by inmates armed with handmade prison weapons such as locks and safety razors. Not only are many inmates violent, some are drug addicts coming off a high and others suffer from mental illness; all of which corrections officers must interact with on a daily basis.

We must take all steps necessary to prevent inmate-on-staff assaults. To effectively address this issue we must require multiple stakeholders at the table to review standards and procedures while determining better safety protocols and best practices relating to staffing and the safety of corrections officers.

In the very near future, I intend to introduce a resolution to direct the Joint State Government Commission (JSGC) to work with stakeholders from the private and public sectors, along with members of the General Assembly in order to provide recommendations and a comprehensive review on the safety and security of staff and corrections officers in our state prisons.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this resolution in order to ensure the safety and security of all staff and corrections officers who put themselves at serious risk to protect all Pennsylvanians from our most violent offenders. Thank you in advance for your consideration. If you have any questions, please contact Cory Smith at 717-772-2283 or by email at Cjsmith@pahouse.net.

Introduced as HR906