ACLU-PA Position: Opposes
SB 239 would create a freestanding act entitled the “Correctional and Forensic Employees Investigation Procedure Act” that establish guidelines and procedures governing the investigation and interrogation of correctional and forensic employees of the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Department of Human Services (DHS).
- Due process: The ACLU-PA supports strong due process protections, and the protections provided under SB 239 are warranted in cases of criminal investigation and prosecution. However, they are far too broad when applied to complaints of non-criminal misconduct. Providing special protections and layers of regulation would have the effect of making it more difficult to uncover misconduct and even more unlikely that officers would be held accountable.
- Suspensions: SB 239 would limit a department’s ability to suspend employees pending an investigation, which may permit employees with serious accusations of misconduct being transferred to another facility rather than suspended.
- Open records: SB 239 includes a provision that would protect an employee’s answers during investigation interviews, which could make it significantly more difficult for incarcerated individuals to obtain records during discovery, should they choose to pursue a claim related to the incident.
Check the bill's status here.