Prison Safety Comes to the Forefront


Jessup, Lackawanna County (WBRE/WYOU) – Guarding those who guard our prisons.  A local group is fighting for safer conditions in correctional facilities.  

When talking about prison safety there seems to be a recurring theme of overcrowding.  That was the focus of a roundtable at the Lackawanna County 911 Center in Jessup Monday night.  The forum was put on by “Voices of J.O.E.”, a group focused on prison safety and justice for fallen corrections officers.

Don Williams is the father of fallen corrections officer Eric Williams who was killed in 2013 while working alone in a housing unit that held 125 inmates at the United States Penitentiary in Canaan Township.  Now, Don is bringing federal, state, and county prison representatives together to talk about the major flaws in the system.  “Unfortunately, no matter how much work we do or how much we try to raise awareness about this, the numbers are increasing,” he says.
The group also discussed issues like giving officers protective equipment like pepper spray, something “Voices of J.O.E.” has already been successful with on the federal level.  President Obama signed “The Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act” into law in March, requiring the bureau of prisons to supply non-lethal pepper spray to guards in medium and high security prisons.

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