Prison Reform Legislation
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State Rep. Carl Metzgar announced Wednesday that he is going to introduce prison reform legislation to strengthen penalties against inmates who assault a staff member. Metzgar, whose district houses both SCI Somerset and SCI Laurel Highlands, said the time has come to introduce such legislation after the number of assaults in the past couple of years at state prisons have risen. He said those assaults culminated in the fatal assault of Sgt. Mark Baserman at SCI Somerset in February. "That fatal assault, coupled with all the other assault is showing the Department of Corrections policies are simply not working," said Metzgar. "We are going to have to do some legislative intervention that's why we have a series of bills that I am putting out there for a safety program for the prison staff and the general population." Metzgar said his prison reform package will focus on several issues, including: Redefining what is an assault in the prison Eliminate parole for inmates who commit an assault on a staff member and put them on the restricted release list Eliminate the use of commissary and fine those who assault staff members Implement a further ban on work boots Equip guard towers with autoloading rifles.