WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement regarding the Department of Justice Bureau of Prisons’ recent announcement to expand a pilot program equipping staff at federal prisons with Oleoresin Capsicum spray, commonly known as pepper spray.
“The safety and security of our federal prison staff is of the utmost importance, and they should be equipped to protect themselves when necessary. Pepper spray is often an effective, nonlethal way to restore order and protect staff as well as inmates. I’ve advocated for prison staff to be allowed to carry pepper spray, and I’m pleased to see that the Bureau of Prisons is expanding an important program to ensure safety and order in our federal prisons and medical centers.”
At a Judiciary Committee hearing in the 113th Congress, Grassley asked BOP officials why guards were not permitted to carry pepper spray to protect themselves. This led to a pilot program allowing staff at high-security prisons to carry pepper spray. This week’s announcement expands the program to medium-security facilities and medical facilities.