(Extensions of Remarks - May 21, 2018)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E699]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                           HON. LOU BARLETTA

                            of pennsylvania

                    in the house of representatives

                          Monday, May 21, 2018

  Mr. BARLETTA. Mr. Speaker, this week, the House took another crucial 
step to ensure our nation's corrections officers, who risk their lives 
every day to keep us safe, are also able to protect themselves and 
their families.
  I am proud to cosponsor H.R. 613, the Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati 
Correctional Officer Self-Protection Act, which directs the Bureau of 
Prisons to provide secure locations at federal prison facilities for 
corrections officers to store personal firearms so that officers can 
protect themselves during their commute to and from work. I hope the 
Senate will act quickly so President Trump can sign this bill into law 
and ensure no family has to suffer the way Lieutenant Albarati's has.
  The passage of this legislation, which is part of the larger 
commemoration of National Police Week, is especially important to me as 
five years ago, one of my constituents, Senior Correctional Officer 
Eric Williams, was brutally murdered by convicted gang assassin Jessie 
Con-ui while he was on duty at the United States Prison at Canaan.
  Officer Williams was unarmed and outnumbered during his shift, which 
left him to the mercy of the inmates around him. During his patrol, he 
was ambushed by Con-ui, knocked down a flight of steps, then brutally 
stabbed more than 200 times with a homemade shank.
  I have had the privilege of working with Officer Williams' parents, 
Don and Jean, who are tireless advocates for our nation's corrections 
officers. Today, they help lead an organization called ``Voices of 
JOE,''--the letters of J-O-E standing for Jose Rivera, Osvaldo 
Albarati, and Eric Williams, who were all killed because of their jobs 
in our correctional system.
  ``Voices of JOE'' is an advocacy group comprised of corrections 
officers, first responders, administrators, union personnel, and family 
members. This group is a staunch advocate that gives a voice to the men 
and women on the front lines protecting communities around the country.
  Together with Don, Jean, and ``Voices of JOE,'' we were able to get 
the Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act signed into law 
in March 2016. This bill supplies pepper spray to federal prison 
officers or employees who may respond to emergencies with inmates. I am 
proud that Eric's legacy lives on through the thousands of men and 
women who will now be able to defend themselves while they are at work.
  Con-ui, a member of the violent New Mexican Mafia gang, was already 
serving a life sentence prior to murdering Officer Williams. Federal 
law provides for the penalty of death in the most severe crimes, 
including those involving the vicious murder of law enforcement 
officers and prison guards. However, despite a federal jury finding him 
guilty of the brutal murder of Officer Williams, Con-ui received 
essentially no additional punishment because one juror out of twelve 
would not vote for a death penalty sentence.
  To right this wrong, Congressman Tom Marino and I worked with the 
Williams family to introduce H.R. 4493, Eric's Law. This legislation 
aims to deliver justice to victims and their families in federal death 
penalty cases by permitting prosecutors to impanel a second jury for 
sentencing if the first jury fails to reach a unanimous sentencing 
  As we commemorate National Police Week, we recognize men like Officer 
Eric Williams and families like Don and Jean Williams, and we thank 
them for their sacrifices. For them, Mr. Speaker, and for all of our 
correctional officers who risk their lives every day, the House must 
continue to act on bills like H.R. 613 that will ensure these brave men 
and women have the tools they need to keep themselves and their 
communities safe.