After years of hard work and advocacy from the AFGE Council of Prison Locals, the House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would make Bureau of Prisons correctional officers’ commute to and from work a lot safer.
The House May 15 passed the Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati Correctional Officer Self-Protection Act introduced by Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia to make permanent the BOP policy of providing gun lockers to correctional workers so that prison employees can defend themselves on their commute to and from work.
The bill, H.R. 613, is named after Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati, a correctional officer at Metropolitan Detention Center Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, who broke up a contraband smuggling group in prison. The group organized a deadly retaliation against Albarati. He was shot and killed in 2013 by a group of gunmen on the highway.
"The Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati Correctional Officer Self-Protection Act guarantees that our officers will have a secure place to store their firearms to defend themselves, and will help us ensure that husbands, wives, children, and grandchildren not be left behind because their loved ones were killed commuting to and from their place of work,” said Eric Young, president of the Council of Prison Locals. “We have been fighting for secure gun lockers since the death of Lieutenant Albarati, and I can't think of a better way to honor his sacrifice and remember his service than to pass this bill during Law Enforcement Week.”
Young added that all of the men and women who keep peace in our communities by safeguarding our nation’s prisons deserve the right to feel safe at work. AFGE hopes to keep this momentum going and continue working towards safer prisons.
AFGE members are working with the Senate to pass its version of the bill.