1Establishing a bill of rights for correctional officers during
2certain investigations by the Department of Corrections;
3authorizing certain civil suits by correctional officers; and
4providing for impact of collective bargaining agreements and
5for summary suspensions.

6The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
7hereby enacts as follows:

8Section 1. Short title.

9This act shall be known and may be cited as the Correctional
10Officers Bill of Rights Act.

11Section 2. Legislative intent.

12It is the intent of the General Assembly to provide standards
13to protect the rights of correctional officers during certain
14investigations by the Department of Corrections.

15Section 3. Definitions.

16The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
17have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
18context clearly indicates otherwise:

1"Correctional officer." An individual employed as a
2correctional officer by the Department of Corrections and given
3the care, custody and control of inmates.

4"Department." The Department of Corrections of the

6Section 4. Rights of correctional officers.

7(a) General rule.--If a correctional officer is under
8investigation and subject to interrogation by the department,
9the following standards shall apply:

10(1) The interrogation shall be conducted after not less
11than 24 hours' notice and shall occur when the correctional
12officer is on duty, unless the seriousness of the
13investigation is such that an immediate investigation is
14necessary. The correctional officer may not be terminated
15from employment or disciplined for any work missed because of
16the interrogation.

17(2) The interrogation shall take place at one of the
18following locations:

19(i) The office of the investigating officer.

20(ii) The office of the correctional facility
21conducting the investigation.

22(iii) An office within a building owned or leased by
23the department.

24(iv) Such other location as is necessary to protect
25the safety or identity of the correctional officer.

26(3) At the beginning of the interrogation, the
27correctional officer under interrogation shall be informed of
28the name and rank of the correctional officer in charge of
29the interrogation and the names and ranks of any correctional
30personnel that will be present.

1(4) The correctional officer under interrogation shall
2be informed in writing of the nature of the complaint and
3provided with the name or names of the complainant not less
4than 24 hours prior to the interrogation.

5(5) If an anonymous or unsworn complaint is made against
6a correctional officer and no corroborative evidence is
7obtained within the applicable statute of limitations for the
8analogous criminal offense, the complaint shall be classified
9as unfounded and shall be completely expunged from any
10personnel file of the correctional officer maintained by the

12(6) The interrogation shall allow for personal
13necessities and for rest periods as are reasonably necessary.

14(7) The correctional officer under interrogation may not
15be offered promises of reward or threatened in connection
16with the investigation.

17(8) The complete interrogation shall be recorded,
18including any recess periods. A copy of the record shall be
19made available to the correctional officer or the
20correctional officer's counsel or representative, upon
21request, without cost.

22(9) If the correctional officer is under arrest at the
23time of the interrogation, the correctional officer shall be
24completely informed of the correctional officer's
25constitutional rights and all rights under the law prior to
26the commencement of the interrogation.

27(10) The correctional officer under interrogation shall
28have the right to be represented by counsel or other
29representative. To the extent that the correctional officer
30is represented for purposes of collective bargaining by a

1collective bargaining representative pursuant to State law,
2the correctional officer shall also have the right to have an
3agent from the exclusive collective bargaining representative

5(11) Prompt action shall be required as follows:

6(i) Except as provided under subparagraph (ii), when
7a complaint is made against a correctional officer more
8than 90 days after the applicable statute of limitations
9has expired for the civil wrong alleged, the complaint
10shall be classified as unfounded and shall be completely
11expunged from any personnel file of the correctional
12officer maintained by the department.

13(ii) Notwithstanding paragraph (i), no complaint
14that alleges conduct that would constitute a misdemeanor
15or felony offense, if proven, may be classified as
16unfounded or expunged as a stale complaint until the
17applicable statute of limitations expires as prescribed
18under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 55 Subch. C (relating to criminal

20(12) No correctional officer may be compelled to submit
21to a polygraph examination. No disciplinary action or other
22recrimination may be taken against a correctional officer for
23refusing to submit to a polygraph examination. No testimony
24or evidence may be admissible at a subsequent hearing, trial
25or proceeding, judicial or administrative, to the effect that
26the correctional officer refused to take a polygraph

28(13) No correctional officer may be subjected to or
29threatened with adverse employment action as a result of the
30exercise of the rights accorded to correctional officers

1under this act.

2(14) No correctional officer may be required to disclose
3greater information as to property, income, assets, source of
4income, debts or personal or domestic expenditures, including
5those of any member of the correctional officer's family or
6household, than the principal elected officials of the
7department are required to disclose, unless the information
8is obtained under proper legal procedures.

9(b) Routine, informed or unplanned interrogation or
10contact.--This section shall not apply to any interrogation of a
11correctional officer in the normal course of duty, counseling,
12instruction, informal verbal admonishment or other routine or
13unplanned contact with a supervisor or any other officer.

14Section 5. Civil suits by correctional officers.

15A correctional officer shall have a cause of action against a
16person for damages suffered as a result of a complaint filed
17against the correctional officer by that person that is found to
18be any of the following:

19(1) Without merit and frivolous.

20(2) Without merit and made in bad faith.

21Section 6. Impact of collective bargaining agreements.

22Nothing in this act may be construed to diminish the
23obligation of the department to comply with a collective
24bargaining agreement that provides greater rights and coverage
25to correctional officers than the rights and coverage provided
26by this act. The rights and coverage under this act may not be
27diminished by any collective bargaining agreement.

28Section 7. Summary suspensions.

29(a) Emergency suspension.--Emergency suspension of a
30correctional officer may be imposed by the department if the

1particular and unique circumstances of the situation dictate
2that the action is necessary to protect the public interest or
3the effective functioning of the department. A correctional
4officer who is subjected to emergency suspension may be relieved
5of duty, provided that the correctional officer receives all
6ordinary pay and benefits as if the correctional officer were
7not suspended.

8(b) Criminal charges.--A correctional officer against whom a
9criminal proceeding involving a misdemeanor or felony offense
10has been instituted may be suspended without pay pending
11disposition of the criminal charges. Medical benefits and
12insurance to which a correctional officer and spouse and
13dependents are entitled by virtue of employment may not be
14suspended until conviction or separation of the correctional
15officer from the department. If the correctional officer is
16acquitted of the criminal charges, the correctional officer
17shall be reinstated and reimbursed for all salary and benefits
18that have not been paid during the suspension period.

19Section 8. Effective date.

20This act shall take effect in 60 days.