Family and Friends Newsletter-April 2019

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missouri department of corrections

Family and Friends Newsletter |April 2019


Visiting Room

The Department encourages visiting by family and friends.  Visits can make a positive and powerful difference in an offender's incarceration. 

Food visits are occasionally scheduled as an incentive for offenders to follow the institutional rules.  If an offender is approved for a food visit, a visitor may bring in a home-cooked or purchased meal for them to enjoy during the visit.  There are strict guidelines to follow, so the offender needs to communicate that information prior to the visit.

It is important to remember visiting an inmate is a privilege and will be regulated. Visitors and offenders are expected to behave appropriately, follow the rules and be respectful of others in the visiting room.  Visiting rules, schedules and additional information about visiting can be found at 

Visiting privileges can be suspended for an appropriate amount of time or restricted to non-contact status for improper behavior or violation of rules by the offender or the visitor.

Veterans' Dorms

Flag ceremony

The Missouri Department of Corrections houses more than 1,860 offenders — about 5.6 percent of the statewide prison population -- who self-identify as U.S. military veterans. The population comes with special needs. Substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues are widespread among war veterans.

Veterans’ dorms have been established at Moberly Correctional Center, Potosi Correctional Center, Algoa Correctional Center and Boonville Correctional Center to bring together a multigenerational group of incarcerated US military veterans as a team to foster camaraderie and healing. Staff works with and motivates the veteran offenders, cementing relationships through a shared history, language and knowledge of military culture.

The program is operated like a platoon, transforming a prison wing into a housing unit that feels like a barracks. Together the veterans participate in PTSD treatment, substance abuse treatment, anger management, group therapy, peer-led courses and mentoring programs. They earn privileges for extra recreational activities. The veterans schedule training and maintenance and observe traditional military rituals, such as raising and lowering a U.S. flag daily. Inmates are also responsible for ensuring they get the help they need to deal with some of the underlying issues that led to their incarceration.

The Department is in the process of establishing a veteran's dorm in additional facilities.

Puppies for Parole


Puppies for Parole operates through partnerships with animal shelters and animal advocate groups statewide. In Puppies for Parole, selected offenders in Missouri prisons have the opportunity to become trainers to rescue dogs. Offenders teach dogs basic obedience skills and socialize them, making them more adoptable. Once the dogs have successfully completed the program, they are adopted through their original shelters.

The program saves dogs' lives, helping to find forever homes for abandoned and stray dogs. Since the program started in 2010, more than 5,000 dogs have graduated from training and have been adopted. Some of these dogs were specially trained to work with people with disabilities, veterans and Missourians receiving mental health treatment.

Offender dog handlers are enrolled in an apprenticeship program through the U.S. Department of Labor. Through formal training, individualized study and on-the-job training, offenders earn a certificate in animal handling, which is recognized in all 50 states. Puppies for Parole gives offenders the skills necessary to support successful rehabilitation and reentry, ultimately improving public safety. Participants have higher employment rates and lower recidivism rates after release. They also benefit from the opportunity to give back to Missouri communities. The program has a profound effect on inmates and staff, improving safety, security and morale in the facilities.

Puppies for Parole uses no general revenue and operates solely on private donations and donations from offender organizations.

 Benefits to the Community

  • Reduces the number of Missouri dogs euthanized and living in animal shelters
  • Gives Missourians a chance to adopt family-friendly dogs
  • Provides trained dogs to citizens with special needs

Benefits to Offender Dog Handlers

  • Teaches vocational skills and responsibility
  • Provides an opportunity to give back to the community and learn altruistic behavior
  • Offers therapeutic support for offenders with mental health issues or terminal illnesses

 Benefits to Correctional Institutions

  • Boosts staff and offender morale
  • Provides an incentive for offenders to modify their behavior
  • Enhances safe environments in prisons
  • Promotes mental health

Resources for Families of Incarcerated Individuals

ParentLink offers parenting information and support to all Missourians. Their mission is to effectively engage families in reducing adverse childhood experiences and to promote optimal development. You may call ParentLink at 1-800-552-8522 or 573-882-7323 or send an email to for answers to your questions or concerns about parenting..

ParentLink provides Prison Parenting Corners in all 21 correctional facilities in Missouri. These Parenting Corners are filled with parenting information for incarcerated parents. One item located at each Corner is the “Ways to Stay in Touch With Your Child” brochure with information for incarcerated parents about staying connected with their children while in prison. The brochure has a tear-off card that incarcerated parents can fill out with a parenting question or concern and mail the card to ParentLink. ParentLink Specialists respond with research-based information.