May 21, 2018 - Issue: Vol. 164, No. 83 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 2nd Session
FIGHTING FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR NATION'S CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 83
(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 [www.gpo.gov] FIGHTING FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR NATION'S CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS ______ 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 decision. 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. ____________________