39th District lawmaker supports Senate version of his legislation to enact safety measures in independent corrections review
This week, the House passed Senate Bill 5907 to enact the recommendations made by the National Institute of Corrections in the wake of the tragic murder of Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl at the Monroe Correctional Complex. Rep. Kirk Pearson sponsored the House version of the legislation, House Bill 2036, to implement the NIC report recommendations to better protect corrections staff statewide and voted in favor of the Senate version as it passed the House.
“It was a good move to bring in the National Institute of Corrections because our correctional officers and staff deserve to have a high level of safety and know that the Legislature cares about their well-being,” said Pearson, Republican lead on the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee. “I am pleased this bill was brought forward. It will put in place some good, common-sense safety precautions for correctional staff that we know are needed when working around dangerous inmates.”
As passed and sent to the governor, Senate Bill 5907 will:
Establish one statewide security advisory committee and local committees at each facility made up of institutional staff, including custody staff, to review policies and make recommendations to Secretary Eldon Vail at the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the governor;
Require the DOC to establish multi-discipline offender classification teams at each facility to evaluate offender placement, job assignments and custody promotions;
Require the DOC to develop training curriculum regarding staff safety at correctional facilities;
Authorize a DOC pilot program for the use of personal body alarms and proximity cards, and mandate the hiring of a consultant to make recommendations about implementing a statewide system with the findings and recommendations presented to the governor and Legislature by Nov. 1, 2011;
Require the DOC to hire a consultant to study the use of video monitoring cameras and make recommendations for statewide standards for the positioning and use of the equipment with the findings presented to the governor and Legislature by Nov. 1, 2011; and
Authorize a DOC pilot program on the expanded use of pepper spray (OC spray) for certain staff within state facilities, the goal of which is to develop a comprehensive plan for the statewide deployment of the spray, which must be presented to the governor and Legislature by Nov. 1, 2011.
“As we begin to implement the recommendations and pilot programs, I will continue to work with my fellow legislators, corrections staff and the governor to follow through on these reforms and make sure the reports due later this year are acted upon in a timely and thoughtful way,” said Pearson, R-Monroe.
Senate Bill 5907 will now be forwarded to the governor for her signature.