Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

senate Bill S. 238

Should Federal Prison Officers be Allowed to Carry Pepper Spray?

Argument in favor

Corrections officers at federal prisons put their lives on the line every day, and need the protection that a non-lethal device like pepper spray can offer in emergency situations.

Duane's Opinion
···
02/24/2016
People seem to be under the impression that once bad guys go to jail they now obey the rules and become non violent. Correction Officers need to be able to protect themselves other staff and even other inmates from predatory inmates and the availability of pepper spray will assist them in doing just that.
Like (23)
Follow
Share
Jj's Opinion
···
02/24/2016
It's non-lethal self-protection. I don't see why not.
Like (13)
Follow
Share
AndrewGVN's Opinion
···
02/24/2016
Prison officers need something to protect themselves. In a lot of cases a baton isn't enough to handle a violent prisoner.
Like (7)
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

Allowing federal corrections officers to carry and use pepper spray could lead to it being used improperly against inmates or others at the prison.

Frank's Opinion
···
02/25/2016
A Federal Prison should be the most secure place. If our Federal officers need pepper spray, then what's the problem and why? Is the place so insecure that they need pepper spray. What if you don't have pepper spray, what then? Can these officers not do their job without it? Highly against this bill. You give certain people power, they will abuse it.
Like (19)
Follow
Share
StevenStBlaize's Opinion
···
02/24/2016
Corrections officers have been protecting themselves for years without pepper spray and there is presently no shortage in Abuse of power. Why give them one more tool to Abuse inmates with?
Like (6)
Follow
Share
Lambert's Opinion
···
02/25/2016
The way we jail is already disgustingly reprehensible. Slap pepper spray on top of that and there's just too much room for error.
Like (5)
Follow
Share

bill Progress


  • EnactedMarch 9th, 2016
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The house Passed February 24th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
  • The senate Passed December 16th, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 22nd, 2015

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!

What is Senate Bill S. 238?

This bill would require the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to allow its corrections officers to carry pepper spray under certain circumstances. Any such officer or employee would be required to complete a training course prior to being authorized to carry the pepper spray, in addition to receiving annual training sessions in subsequent years.

The BOP officers and employees that would be able to carry pepper spray include:

  • Officers and employees that work at a prison that is not a minimum or low security prison, and may respond to an emergency situation at the prison;

  • Additional officers and employees as deemed appropriate by the Director of the Bureau of Prisons.

Officers and employees who carry the pepper spray would be authorized to use it to reduce acts of violence committed by prisoners and prison visitors against themselves, other prisoners and visitors, and BOP officers and employees.

Within three years of the BOP beginning to issue pepper spray to its officers and employees, the Comptroller General would be directed to provide Congress with a report that includes:

  • An evaluation of the effectiveness of issuing such spray on reducing crime in such prisons and acts of violence committed by prisoners against themselves or others;

  • An evaluation of the advisability of issuing such spray;

  • Recommendations to improve the safety of BOP officers and employees in prisons.

Known as the Eric WIlliams Correctional Officer Protection Act, this bill was introduced as a way of honoring the memory of Officer Eric WIlliams, a 34 year old corrections officer who was murdered by an inmate while on duty at a federal prison in February 25, 2013.

Impact

Corrections officers and other BOP employees who would be authorized to carry pepper spray after receiving training, the Comptroller General, the BOP, and the Director of the BOP.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 238

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced this bill to remedy a BOP policy that is believed to have contributed to the death of Officer Eric WIlliams and prevent the recurrence of similar tragedies:

“I am extremely pleased that the Senate has acted to protect our federal correctional officers by passing bipartisan legislation guaranteeing them use of non-lethal pepper spray. it is shocking that Bureau of Prison policy previously allowed guards to be placed on duty completely unarmed or without any defensive gear — a policy that led to the death of Officer Eric Williams in Wayne County, PA. This victory was made possible by the tireless efforts of Eric Williams’ parents, Don and Jean Williams, who turned their family tragedy into a national effort to protect other officers.”

The Senate passed this legislation by unanimous consent in December 2015 after enjoying the support of nine cosponsors, including two Democrats and seven Republicans.



Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user myfuture.com)

AKA

Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act of 2015

Official Title

A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to authorize the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to issue oleoresin capsicum spray to officers and employees of the Bureau of Prisons.

    People seem to be under the impression that once bad guys go to jail they now obey the rules and become non violent. Correction Officers need to be able to protect themselves other staff and even other inmates from predatory inmates and the availability of pepper spray will assist them in doing just that.
    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
    A Federal Prison should be the most secure place. If our Federal officers need pepper spray, then what's the problem and why? Is the place so insecure that they need pepper spray. What if you don't have pepper spray, what then? Can these officers not do their job without it? Highly against this bill. You give certain people power, they will abuse it.
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    It's non-lethal self-protection. I don't see why not.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    Prison officers need something to protect themselves. In a lot of cases a baton isn't enough to handle a violent prisoner.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    Corrections officers have been protecting themselves for years without pepper spray and there is presently no shortage in Abuse of power. Why give them one more tool to Abuse inmates with?
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    The way we jail is already disgustingly reprehensible. Slap pepper spray on top of that and there's just too much room for error.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    It's the best non lethal method for subduing a hostile inmate. There are no harmful side effects and it is another layer of protection for correction guards who have a tremendously difficult job as it is. To say that it might be used inappropriately doesn't carry much weight as anything can be used inappropriately, including the belts on their pants, the keys they carry, to the credit card they have in their wallets. You'd be surprised what can be used as a weapon. This is the least harmful method and actually most humane.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    Even though giving them more power could lead to corruption I believe they do need a means of self protection that isn't brute force or anything more lethal than that.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    Because officers get harassed and attacked daily and pepper spray is a non lethal solution to protecting yourself from being attacked.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    It will lead to officers misusing pepper spray to harm inmates
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    If you have the ability to utilize pepper spray in public against individuals that are trying to harm you physically then the exact same scenario amply's to utilizing pepper spray in a building as well such as a prison. I do support this bill however there are positives and negatives. Pepper spray May be abused in prisons as well which will increase abusive corruption that guards believe they are above the law. Although, the The positive is the ability to contain self defense which any American deserves, you think about it it's the right to bear arms, it's our CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. GAURDS AND AUTHORITIES HAVE THE RIGHT TO THE SECOND AMENDMENT AS WELL. So then I don't see why pepper spray should be abolished from their possession as self defense which justifies your second amendment rights . THANK YOU for your time.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    No....prisoners will have access to this then and the officers will only be at greater risk.
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    Provides a measured response in a violent situation and is not lethat
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    We must assume that guards will act humanly until otherwise proven. As they could need protection.
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    They're criminals. They do not get special treatment.
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    Why are we as a nation constantly focused on reactionary measures ? The potential abuses of power from this measure far out way the need to utilize it
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    They need something to defend themselves when shit happens.
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    As long as it isn't used against inmates incorrectly and with abuse, it should be permitted.
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    I am a firm believer in giving Correctional/Detention Officers as many tools as possible to do there job, or else risk the possibility of forcing every situation to look like the proverbial nail.
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    State prisons allow correctional officers to carry pepper spray, so federal should follow suit.
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    MORE