Staff Newsletter | March 2020

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missouri department of corrections

Employee Newsletter   |  March 2020

COVID-19: What You Should Know


The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services provides daily updates on COVID-19, also known as "coronavirus," in Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) are responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that has spread internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (commonly known as COVID-19). Please visit the DHSS COVID-19 page for information, updates and tips on staying healthy.

Please review the COVID-19 message to staff sent March 13 regarding the Missouri Department of Corrections preparation for the virus.

Also please stay tuned for updates. Check your email, talk with your supervisors and visit the DHSS site.

COVID-19: Department of Corrections Preparation

The Missouri Department of Corrections is prepared to contain the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Here are some of the things we’re doing:

  • Effective March 13, 2020, offender visiting is suspended at all state prisons for 30 days. This decision was made as a preventative measure to protect the health of staff and offenders. After 30 days, the department will reassess the situation and make appropriate decisions.
  • Probation and Parole administrators are working on a plan to address referrals to the community supervision centers (CSCs), residential facilities and the Transition Center of St. Louis (TCSTL). Supervision contact requirements in the community are also being reviewed. Staff will be notified of any changes to policy and procedure.
  • MODOC leaders have twice-daily calls at 7:30 a.m. and noon with the Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS) and other state leaders to monitor the situation.
  • All employee health nurses are informed and stay updated through a weekly call. They have a protocol in place to identify COVID-19 symptoms and take appropriate action.
  • Every offender is screened at intake using a screening tool recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Corizon Health is prepared to identify symptoms and take appropriate action.
  • Any offender showing signs of the disease will be placed in isolation. A test for the coronavirus may be administered following guidance from medical professionals. Each prison has been directed to prepare isolation beds/wings.
  • Any offender reporting to a Probation and Parole office who shows signs of the disease will be asked to leave the premises and report to a physician or the county health department for an evaluation. Alternative methods of reporting, in lieu of face-to-face visits with offenders, may be used.
  • Both Corizon and MODOC have designated staff to check in with DHSS and CDC daily for updates.
  • Each prison already has a pandemic plan in place. These plans have been modified to include specifics for the coronavirus.
  • All Probation and Parole offices and community corrections facilities have a pandemic plan in place. 
  • Flyers have been posted at worksites with tips on preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Please follow these tips.
  • Missouri Vocational Enterprises (MVE) is prepared when dealing with hospital laundry. Our process has been approved by the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council. All offenders wear protective gear and have been educated and personally instructed on handling hospital laundry safely and employing techniques to mitigate risk.
  • A few things you can do to help: Please wipe down and sanitize doorknobs, hard surfaces, X-ray machines, bins, tables, pens and other items that may be touched by multiple people in common areas.
  • Please help protect your coworkers. If you have a fever, do not report for work at any office or facility.

If you have urgent questions about COVID-19, you may call 877-435-8411. This line is open 24/7. But first check the links below.

Official updates:

Mental Health Resources

While protecting your physical health during the COVID-19 outbreak is essential, we also want to ensure that you're looking out for your mental health. As the situation evolves and Missourians experience stress and anxiety, the Missouri Department of Mental Health has prepared a guide to resources for managing the effects:

Miss U.S.A. Visits Vandalia

Kryst - wardens

The administrative staff at Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center welcomed Miss U.S.A. Cheslie Kryst to the facility to meet with offenders.


 Kryst is an attorney, a criminal justice reform advocate, a Dress for Success ambassador and a role model for women. She met with students in the ASPIRE MO entrepreneurship program to learn about their business plans and inspire them to take charge of their future. She also joined Director Anne Precythe, reentry staff and our community partners at a Connections to Success celebration in St. Louis.


Reentry Coordinator Danielle Bellamy (left), Jesse Yankee of the Missouri Women's Business Center (second from left) & Kellie Ann Coats of the Missouri Department of Economic Development Women's Council (right) run the 20-week ASPIRE MO program to give women tools to succeed in business after release from prison. This class is the third group of women to embark on the entrepreneurial adventure.

When to do What in ENGAGE 2.0

Evaluations, Feedback & Timing


As you know, March marks the rollout of ENGAGE 2.0 — with new components designed to generate more feedback between supervisors and staff. The statewide ENGAGE 2.0 website is packed with information about WHAT we're doing and WHY we're doing it.

BONUS: Our very own MODOC Personnel Director Dwight Politte explains WHEN to do each thing.

Check out the video →

Also use this simple scheduling guide ↓

Feedback Schedule

What We're Doing Right Now

This month all supervisors must complete evaluations of their direct reports.

This month all staff have the option to provide upward feedback to their supervisors. 

Building Stronger Families

Boonville staff unite Missouri kids with incarcerated dads

BCC kids

Institutional Activity Coordinator Ashley Coffelt, Corrections Case Manager II Hayley Joyce and other staff at Boonville Correctional Center (BCC) are making a big difference in the lives of Missouri kids. Recognizing the importance of keeping kids connected to their incarcerated dads and increasing the success of post-incarceration parenting, the BCC team created Empowering Dads Embracing Fatherhood.

Boonville Dad

During the summer and other school breaks, kids whose dads are incarcerated at BCC can have four-hour special visits with their dads — without their legal guardian and away from the restrictiveness of the visiting room table. Families have a chance to build stronger connections. They make crafts, play board games and even go outside to romp on the playground or throw a football. Kids form stronger bonds not only with their dads but also with their peers. 


Participating offenders, who must apply to and be approved for Empowering Dads, are motivated to take part in programming, cooperate with staff and remain free of conduct violations — so they can keep having special time with their kids. Empowering Dads breaks down walls, Coffelt says. "When the kids come, they don't have to be anyone but just them; they get to be a dad," she said. "They get to be soft and sweet and kind and gentle to their children." Watch an interview with Coffelt and Joyce on KRCG-TV »

February 2020 MODOC Employee of the Month

Lisa Turner

Lisa Turner looks out for her coworkers. After working a long shift as a Corrections Case Manager II at Fulton Reception & Diagnostic Center, she offered to drive home a coworker who wasn't feeling well. On the way home, seeing that his condition was beginning to deteriorate, she insisted he get emergency medical attention. She then not only took her colleague to the hospital but also but stayed with him while he received medical treatment and drove him home afterward. Turner's compassion, professionalism and commitment to her team serve as an example to all corrections staff. 

State of Missouri February Employee of the Month

State EOM

Office of Professional Standards staff member Amanda Rucker is the February State of Missouri employee of the month, chosen from about 50,000 state government workers throughout Missouri. While monitoring offender email, Rucker found questionable images and email patterns that led to the apprehension of a sex offender in violation of parole — helping to make Missouri safer.

Job Center Opens Inside Transition Center of St. Louis

Job Center

A new job center is now open inside the Transition Center of St. Louis, which provides programming and transitional help for Missourians on probation and parole supervision. In collaboration with the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (DHEWD) and community partners, the job center offers individual employment-search help, workshops, on-site support, enrollment and connections to felon-friendly employers.

job center 2

“The collaboration between DOC and DHEWD on this project is one that we would like to see duplicated across the state, most importantly in our underserved areas,” says Missouri Department of Corrections Reentry Coordinator Latrice Tate. “The Reentry Unit continues to work on identifying and building relationships with employers around the state who are willing to not only hire our clients but also work with them in maintaining employment.”

Designing a Better Future

Landscape architecture

Staff at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC) are facilitating more job-skills development to help employers fill positions in a growing field. And lawn. And garden.

Through a Washington University Prison Education Project landscape architecture course, MECC offenders have the chance to gain not only outdoor-space design skills but also a better understanding of the elements that make for successful landscaping.

landscape - staff

The course, "Landscape Architecture: The Art & Science of Placemaking," teaches participants about the environmental, scientific and technical aspects of ecological planting design. Taught by Professor Carolyn Gaidis, the course guides budding landscapers through research and theory to inform a design project for the MECC grounds.

MODOC Gives Back

School Lunch

Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center's Gavel Club and Restorative Justice Organization have made major contributions to the community. They donated $2,009 to the local elementary schools in the North County School District to help pay off students' school lunch debts.

Benefiting Babies

Diaper Drive

To help families of infants access the resources they need, staff at South Central Correctional Center (SCCC) and its institutional parole office held a diaper and baby-sleeper drive for the Pregnancy Resource Center in Mountain Grove. The nonprofit center provides parenting classes, medical referrals, essential items and other services for mothers, couples and caregivers. SCCC Probation & Parole Unit Supervisor Aaron Jarrett delivered the items to Pregnancy Resource Center Assistant Director Abby Boatright.

Feeding Veterans

The Southeast Correctional Center Personnel Club donated $1,000 to the Veterans Administration’s veterans pantry in Poplar Bluff. The contribution covers operating costs for four months.

Feeding Children


Through a partnership among Southeast Correctional Center, La Croix Church in Cape Girardeu and Feed My Starving Children, 282 offenders and other volunteers have funded and packed 191,160 meals — enough to feed 523 hungry kids for a year. Staff say that giving offenders a sense of purpose makes a difference. "We’re seeing huge reductions in offender altercations and huge reductions in conduct violation issues," says Allen Hughes, Corrections Training Officer at SECC. "The statistics are showing that the overall culture here at SECC is changing." Learn more »

Taking the Plunge

Polar Plunge

A team made up of Chillicothe Correctional Center (CCC) staff placed first in fundraising in the law enforcement category during the Polar Plunge event at Lake Viking. CCC volunteers raised $4,892 for Special Olympics Missouri during the event, which entailed collecting donations from sponsors and then dipping into icy winter waters. In total, participants raised $10,900 to promote inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities through year-round sports.

Stand Up and Be Counted


The 2020 Census is your chance to make sure the hard-earned tax dollars sent to the federal government make their way back to Missouri. For every adult and every child who is not counted in the census, our state will lose $1,300 in federal dollars every year. When every Missourian is counted, we get more money for roads, bridges, hospitals and schools.

Respond to the 2020 Census »

Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan

What are we doing? Where are we going? What does it mean for you and your job?

We’re making big progress in our three focus areas: workplace safety, workforce development and reducing risk and recidivism.

Take a look at our strategic plan and initiatives for the latest updates on the department's priorities.

Missouri Department of Corrections in the News

Your great work is making headlines! Check out news media coverage of staff accomplishments in family unification, women's programs, research and more.

March News Collage

State Employee of the Month


Supporting Families

Programs for Women

Legislation, Research & Policy


Improving Lives for Safer Communities


Excellence in Corrections for a Safer Missouri


We value safe work environments, a capable workforce and reduced risk and recidivism.
We value integrity and respect.
We value supportive leadership.
We value employee participation and teamwork.

Staff News

Be a Better Listener


We're working hard to recruit and retain staff and to make our department a great place to work. Actively listening to coworkers helps create a better environment. 


  • Be attentive and focused.
  • Ask questions, and get clarification.
  • Demonstrate your understanding by summarizing and repeating what has been said.