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Congressman Tom Marino

Representing the 10th District of Pennsylvania

Marino Applauds Passage of Eric Williams Correction Officer Protection Act

February 24, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Marino joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to manage the unanimous passage of S.238 – the Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act. The bill, sponsored by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) passed with wide bipartisan support one day before the three year anniversary of the death of the bill’s namesake, a Federal Corrections Officer in Pennsylvania who was brutally killed by an inmate in 2013. This legislation requires the Director of the federal Bureau of Prisons to provide, train and equip Corrections Officers with pepper-spray, thereby increasing officer safety to help save lives of America's brave Corrections Officers in Williams’ honor.

Congressman Marino issued the following statement of the bill’s passage:

"This bill is on its way to the President’s desk and I am very proud that we can expect his signature. Eric Williams was a promising young man and a dedicated public servant. He served day-in and day-out in some of the dangerous environments within our criminal justice system. When he was attached, Eric was grossly outnumbered, and without any means of defense.  Corrections Officers need the use of pepper spray to protect themselves and other inmates from violent inmate attacks.  His death, and that of every officer lost due to the lack of proven protection tools like pepper spray, should further solidify the crucial nature of this legislation.  

I want to thank my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-6), and specifically Representative David McKinley for assisting in the passage of this bill.”

Watch Mr. Marino’s floor speech in support of S.238 or read the text of his remarks below:

Floor Statement by Congressman Tom Marino on S. 238, the “Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act of 2015, Wednesday, February 24, 2016:

THANK YOU MISTER SPEAKER/MADAME SPEAKER.

I RISE TODAY IN SUPPORT OF THE ERIC WILLIAMS CORRECTIONAL OFFICER PROTECTION ACT.

I WAS NOT FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO KNOW ERIC WILLIAMS WHILE HE LIVED. BUT AS I HAVE MET AND WORKED WITH HIS PARENTS, HIS COWORKERS AND FRIENDS, I HAVE COME TO GRASP THE DEPTH OF HIS LOSS TO THEM ALL.

AS THE CHAIRMAN STATED BEFORE ME, ON THE NIGHT HE WAS BRUTALLY MURDERED, ERIC WAS ALONE AND OUTNUMBERED OVER 100 TO 1 IN A HIGH SECURITY FEDERAL PENITENTIARY.

USP CANAAN, WHERE ERIC WAS MURDERED, IS 1 OF 3 OF SUCH HIGH SECURITY INSTITUTIONS IN MY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.

IN EACH OF THEM, CORRECTIONS OFFICERS AND OTHER PRISON STAFF, ARE CONSTANTLY OUTNUMBERED, WHILE THEY WORK AMONG THE MOST VIOLENT CRIMINALS IN THE FEDERAL PRISON SYSTEM.

UNTIL THE B.O.P. IMPLEMTNETED ITS O.C. SPRAY PILOT PROGRAM, EACH OF THESE CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WAS ALSO COMPLETELY UNARMED.

INMATES ON THE OTHER HAND, CONSTANTLY FIND INGENIOUS WAYS TO FABRICATE WEAPONS FOR USE AGAINST B.O.P. EMPLOYEES AND OTHER INMATES.

BUT AS I HAVE VISITED AND MET WITH CORRECTIONS OFFICERS AT USP CANAAN, FCC ALLENWOOD, AND USP LEWISBURG, I HAVE HEARD FIRST HAND ACCOUNT UPON ACCOUNT OF WHY OC SPRAY IS A NECESSARY TOOL OF THEIR JOB.

IT IS A SIGN OF WHY THIS PROVEN PILOT PROGRAM, MUST BECOME PERMANENTLY AUTHORIZED.

I WANT TO THANK CHAIRMAN GOODLATTE FOR HIS SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE ON THIS CRITICAL PIECE OF LEGISLATION.

OVER MANY MONTHS NOW, HE AND HIS STAFF HAVE WORKED WITH MINE TO ENSURE THAT WE BRING IT TO THE FLOOR.

I ALSO WANT TO THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM PENNSYLVANIA, SENATOR TOOMEY, FOR HIS EFFORTS TO PUSH THIS BILL THROUGH THE SENATE.

WHILE STRAIGHTFORWARD AND SHORT, THIS BILL MEANS LIFE AND DEATH FOR CORRECTIONS OFFICERS AND BOP EMPLOYEES ACROSS THE NATION.

THE LOSS OF ERIC WILLIAMS AND TWO OTHER FEDERAL CORRECTIONS OFFICERS IN RECENT YEARS IS TRAGIC AND ABSOLUTELY PREVENTABLE.

TOMORROW FEBRUARY 25TH, MARKS THREE YEARS SINCE ERIC’S DEATH.

TO HONOR HIS SERVICE, AND HIS MEMORY, I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO DO RIGHT FOR THOSE WHO PROTECT US AND SUPPORT THIS BILL.

I YIELD BACK THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.

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