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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 20, 2018 01:44 PM
From: Representative Pam Snyder and Rep. Gerald J. Mullery, Rep. Neal P. Goodman
To: All House members
Subject: Corrections Officer Safety at State Institutions
Three years ago a dangerous lifer slashed a prison guard’s throat at SCI-Mahanoy. The same prisoner attempted to slash another guard at SCI-Somerset last year. In February, Sgt. Mark Baserman was murdered at SCI-Somerset by an inmate with a history of violence inside prison. Just a few days later, two more guards were attacked by an inmate at SCI-Coal Township. These are only a small sample of the many violent attacks at state prisons in recent years. There have been 466 staff assaults this year alone.

Corrections officers know what they sign up for when they take the job. But that doesn’t absolve us of our obligation to do everything in our power to keep them safe while on duty. We believe the bills in this package provide necessary reforms to ensure the safety and security of our officers. Please join us in pushing these reforms forward.

Document #1

Introduced as HB44

Description: Proposal #1: Testimony at parole hearings
This bill would give corrections officers the opportunity to submit a written statement or testify in-person at parole hearings.  Requiring testimony of corrections officers would ensure they have a voice in inmate parole proceedings.


Document #2

Description: Proposal #2: Tasers for corrections officers at state institutions
This bill would allow all corrections officers at state correctional institutions to carry tasers.  It is modeled after my legislation, which is now law, to allow all corrections officers to carry pepper spray.

Document #3

Description: Proposal #3: Safe staffing levels
This bill requires the Department of Corrections to establish a staffing plan that ensures no guard is ever alone while on duty, except during unforeseeable emergency circumstances.