– Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar (R-Somerset/Bedford) today announced that the governor has signed his House Bill 256
, which lowers the threshold that must be met to charge an inmate with a felony for committing assault on a corrections facility employee.
This bill is part of a package of bills, authored by Metzgar, which would address seven key areas to improve safety for Department of Corrections staff and the public, as well as toughen penalties on prisoners who commit violent offenses against facility employees. Metzgar wrote the legislation in response to the murder of Sgt. Mark Baserman, an employee at State Correctional Institute-Somerset, who was fatally beaten by an inmate on Feb. 15, 2018.
“The current language in the Crimes Code does not sufficiently address the intent of a prisoner who would commit these violent offenses against detention and correctional facility employees. Whether the assault results in ‘serious bodily injury’ or minor cuts and bruises, we have to consider that the intent to harm is present in both cases,” said Metzgar. “If a prisoner commits these violent offenses while incarcerated, they are showing that they are still a danger to society and have not been rehabilitated. The resulting sentencing needs to reflect that observation.”
The bill also provides that any law enforcement officer or correctional facility employee will be charged with a third-degree felony if they engage in any sexual acts with an inmate or detainee.
The bill was signed into law as Act 63 of 2020.
Representative Carl Walker Metzgar
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Kevin DiGuiseppe
717.260.6419 (office), 610.937.4679 (cell)