Some news on the national scene: The U.S. House has passed a prison safety bill named after fallen correctional officer Eric Williams.
The bill would allow officers within the federal prison system the ability to carry pepper spray.
Williams was murdered three years ago while working at a federal prison in Pennsylvania.
Although the bill would apply only to correctional employees at the federal level, it can be used as model legislation at the state level. Hopefully, the bill's passage will prompt more states to pass similar measures.
Read more about the bill's passage here:
The unified vote, which they watched live on television from their home, was the final hurdle before the “Eric Williams Correctional Officers Protection Act” gets sent to President Barack Obama to make it law.
“We were both hugging each other and crying,” Jean Williams said in a phone call shortly after the vote. “His name will be in the history books. Plus it’s going to help save lives.”
The bill authorizes correctional officers and other employees to carry pepper spray in medium-security and higher prisons in the federal system.
Its passage Wednesday was some good news for the Williams family on the eve of their tragic loss. Correctional Officer Eric Williams, 34, was murdered by an inmate three years ago today while working at U.S. Penitentiary at Canaan in Wayne County.
The Nanticoke native was working alone in a unit housing about 130 inmates, equipped with just a radio, keys and handcuffs. Jean Williams said she and her husband were “watching, hoping and praying” on Wednesday while tuned into the C-SPAN public affairs station, which aired live coverage of House debate and vote.
“It’s been what we’ve been waiting for,” she said. “Now all we have to do is watch Obama sign it and then we’ll celebrate.”