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.