The PSCOA has always made the safety and security of Corrections Officers our top priority. With your support, these efforts led to the ability of all Officers to carry pepper spray when Gov. Wolf signed House Bill 2084 into law.
Now, the death of our brother Mark Baserman has been felt by all of us. Just 24 hours after his funeral, two more of our Officers were injured in an attack at SCI-Coal Township by an inmate with a history of violence in our jails.
While our work in Harrisburg has long focused on improving the safety of our members, the PSCOA is demanding action in Harrisburg to change how the Department of Corrections (DOC) handles Officer safety and security. To that end, we are engaging the governor’s office, DOC and members of the General Assembly on several issues:
1. Standardization of the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) system: Too often, DOC ignores its own regulations. We must have a rigid system that makes Officer safety the top priority — not inmates.
2. Prosecution of all inmates who assault Officers: We will be working with legislators on a law requiring all counties to prosecute all inmates who assault our Officers.
3. Confiscate dangerous items provided to inmates: Heavy boots, locks, knitting needles and other items would no longer be allowed.
4. Re-evaluate all staffing and safety standards: We must take a fresh look at how these standards are applied. They simply are not working, and DOC must do better.
We’re proud of the work we’ve done together with you to improve safety in the jails and have always welcomed any of your suggestions. Be assured, we will not rest until substantial safety changes are made that put Corrections Officers first!