WASHINGTON – After years of hard work and advocacy from the American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Locals, Congress passed the Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati Correctional Officer Self-Protection Act. The bill makes permanent the Bureau of Prisons policy of providing gun lockers to correctional workers, so that prison employees can defend themselves on their commute to and from work.
“This is a huge step towards making our prisons safer," said Eric Young, President of the Council of Prison Locals. "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."
The Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati Correctional Officer Self-Protection Act (H.R. 613) was introduced by Representative David McKinley of West Virginia on January 23, 2017. The bill is named for Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati, a correctional officer at MDC Guaynabo who was murdered in connection with his work inside the prison.
"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 said.
AFGE National President J. David Cox echoed Young's praises, and credits the bill's passage to the mobilization of union members.
“Since 2013, the Council of Prisons Locals and the American Federation of Government Employees have worked tirelessly to increase the safety of our correctional officers at federal prisons throughout the country,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. “Thanks to our activists' hard-won fight, we're making great strides in prison safety."
Young says that the Council of Prison Locals will continue its work to make prisons safer, and make the gun locker policy change permanent with the passage of the Osvaldo Albarati Correctional Officer Protection Act.
"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," Young said. "We hope to keep this momentum going and continue working towards safer prisons for all correctional workers."