A state House subcommittee for the first time ever held a hearing at Stillwater prison as lawmakers consider taking action to bolster safety and staffing in state prisons.

New Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell told lawmakers, “It is our pledge to work together to build a culture that works hard to create a correctional environment and community that recognizes principles of justice, fairness, and safety.”

Schnell said that safety applies to inmates in the state’s prisons as well.

The move comes after the recent deaths of corrections officers Joseph Gomm and Joe Parise.

Schnell added, “The reality has to be recognized that the safety of facilities like this is oftentimes reflected in the recognition of basic human needs that we have to have.”