Family & Friends Newsletter-November 2018

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missouri department of corrections

Family and Friends Newsletter | November 2018

Offender Health Care Services


Offender health care services are provided through a private contractor under the direction of department staff. The health care provider places importance on preventive care and early identification of health problems. The goal is to prevent disease and disability or, when health conditions are already present, to prevent worsening of those conditions. All health care providers are licensed to practice their profession in Missouri. Many health care staff have advanced training and certification in various specialties. The health care providers are required to provide care that is equivalent to general community standards and those standards established by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.

Offenders who believe they need medical or dental care complete a Health Services Request (HSR) form, which is a written request for care. They also may attend open sick call if available at that facility. All requests are screened and scheduled according to urgency or seriousness of the stated problem. Emergency care is always provided immediately and does not require the completion of a Health Services Request form.

Offender Grievance Process


In 1995, Congress passed the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), which placed several restrictions on the ability of prisoners to file lawsuits based on the conditions of their confinement. Among other goals, the Act sought to reduce frivolous litigation; allow corrections officials the ability to remedy problems before litigation; and lighten the caseload for courts handling prisoner litigation.

It's important to understand the PLRA because failure to comply with its requirements, many of which place additional burdens on prisoners not faced by other litigants, could adversely affect efforts to seek recourse for civil rights violations through the court system.

The Missouri Department of Corrections has a tiered grievance process.

  • An offender may initiate the grievance process by requesting an Informal Resolution Request (IRR) form from their assigned case manager or classification assistant. Once the IRR has been submitted, a discussion occurs between the offender and their classification staff/designee in an attempt to informally resolve the issue of concern. This discussion is documented on the IRR form.
  • If not satisfied, the offender may continue the IRR process, which entails a written response to the IRR.
  • If the offender continues to be unsatisfied, he or she may appeal the matter by filing a grievance to the warden.
  • If the situation is not resolved at the grievance level, the complaint may be appealed to the division director or designee for final review and response.

Tablets for Incarcerated Individuals

JPay, the vendor that currently provides electronic money transfer and email services to the inmate population, is offering tablets to inmates at no cost to the inmate, the Department of Corrections or taxpayers. Tablet distribution is underway. It is hoped that all inmates who would like a tablet will have one by the end of 2018. Every inmate must complete the ordering process at the facility to be assigned a tablet.

Some of the services that may be available through the tablets include:

  • Music
  • Books
  • Email
  • Games
  • Educational content

Learn more about the JPay tablets at


Resources for Families of Incarcerated Individuals

Children's books

StoryLink is a program in which offenders can pick out a book to read on a cassette to their child or grandchild. The program sends the book and tape to the family as a way to strengthen bonds and communication between family members. Since the program started, more than 15,000 books have been read to children, and many relationships have been restored. For more information, please contact the Institutional Activities Coordinator at the correctional facility.