A bill that gives corrections officers the opportunity to submit written testimony or testify in person at parole hearings has passed in the state House of Representatives.

“Our corrections officers have a dangerous but vital job to do, and I’m extremely pleased House Bill 44 is moving forward,” state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, said. “No one better understands the behavior of inmates than corrections officers who are patrolling the halls of the facility each day, and their voice must be heard when parole hearings are taking place, as they know firsthand if an inmate should be considered for parole.”

Snyder, whose district includes SCI-Fayette and SCI-Greene, has been a strong advocate for state corrections officers, according to a release from Snyder’s office.

In 2016, Snyder helped enact legislation to allow corrections officers to carry pepper spray while on duty. In 2018, Snyder also called for a thorough review of state prison system employee safety and security after more than two dozen employees across Pennsylvania were sickened by a substance that was later identified as synthetic marijuana, the release said.

The bill now heads to state Senate for further consideration.

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