Congressman Matt Cartwright

Representing the 17th District of Pennsylvania
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Cartwright Lauds Final Congressional Passage of the Eric Williams Correctional Protection Act

Feb 24, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright applauded final congressional passage of legislation he co-introduced and championed, the Eric Williams Correctional Protection Act of 2015, which will permanently extend the availability of pepper spray to all federal correctional workers and providing training for those workers under Bureau of Prison guidelines.

"The senseless murder of Officer Eric Williams underscored the dire need for safer work environments in our correctional facilities,” said Rep. Cartwright.  “I am proud of my colleagues in the House and Senate for recognizing the need to adequately protect those men and women who put their lives on the line each day to keep our communities safe, and for honoring Officer Williams' sacrifice with common sense reform that will help protect others in the future."

This afternoon, the House unanimously passed the Eric Williams Correctional Protection Act.  The bill passed the Senate in the same form on December 16, 2015, so the measure will now go to the president for his signature.

Since the tragic death of USP Canaan Correctional Officer Eric Williams in 2013, Cartwright has worked to expedite and expand the pepper spray pilot program to include all correctional officers, including unit staff, cafeteria, and administrative workers in housing units.  The pilot program has since expanded to six additional medium security institutions as a result of these efforts.

The legislative effort championed by Congressman Cartwright to permanently extend pepper spray to all federal correctional workers was supported by the National Association of Police Organizations, the Council of Local Prisons, and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and was found by the Congressional Budget Office to have no cost to taxpayers.