Staff Newsletter | June 2020

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missouri department of corrections

Employee Newsletter   |  June 2020

Putting Us to the Test

COVID-19 sentinel testing begins in state prisons

Testing - collage

Sentinel testing began at Southeast Correctional Center and South Central Correctional Center Tuesday, May 26. Missouri National Guard medics work with our employee health nurses and Corizon staff to test staff and offenders.

As part of the state's  Show Me Strong Recovery Plan, the Department of Corrections is conducting statewide COVID-19 sentinel testing, a process of testing most or all members of a large group of people living or working together in close contact, even if there are no known cases of COVID-19 in that location.

Now that testing capacity has increased, the state is positioned for widespread testing of confined populations, which gives us data we need to stop the virus at each location and keep it from spreading to our families and communities. Like our annual tuberculosis screening, these tests help protect staff and offenders.

In typical MODOC fashion, facility staff and administrators have tackled this new challenge like a well-oiled machine.

Phase I testing took place May 26-29 at Southeast Correctional Center and South Central Correctional Center, where 3,289 tests were conducted in four days. We will continue to test anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 or has been exposed to the virus. So far, the testing has revealed only a few new cases of COVID-19 at SECC, the site of our only outbreak, and no cases at SCCC.

Phase 2 launched at Algoa Correctional Center June 3.

Results will be published on the department's COVID-19 data page as they become available.

Tentative testing dates and locations have been scheduled through June. Check the schedule at right, and stay tuned for announcements of future test sites and plans.

Recruitment Campaign Launches

Now Hiring Heroes

The corrections team's fortitude and heroism — during our challenging public health crisis and always — have inspired a new staff recruitment campaign. Look for print and digital ads on websites, in social media, on cell phone apps, and in newspapers throughout the state. Share with job-seekers who would make a great addition to the corrections family. Watch our 15-second ad »

Team Players

During a major public health crisis that shuts down much of the state, simply showing up for work every day is an act of dedication, bravery and commitment to service. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, even during office shutdowns, 99% of Missouri Department of Corrections staff have worked every day, in adult institutions, in probation and parole districts, or from remote locations.

Many are going the extra mile. Here are just a few examples.

Extra-Job Workers

Kimberly Littrell

Kimberly Littrell, a Corrections Officer I at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center, is a corrections superhero. To help out during this challenging period, she works overtime every day — sometimes completing an entire extra shift, always equipped with a positive attitude and a big smile. 

Sergeant Bruce Boren at Potosi Correctional Center has taken on the less-than-welcoming task of greeting every staff member every day with a temperature check and a set of COVID-19-related questions. His upbeat demeanor, professionalism and respect for peers help ensure smooth completion of the repetitive task.

Ashley Coffelt

When Boonville Correctional Center was left without a chaplain in the midst of both Ramadan and a stressful public health crisis, Institutional Activity Coordinator Ashley Coffelt took over the duties; she meets weekly with each religious group to make sure their needs are met. In April, she also led offenders in performing more than 1,000 volunteer hours in the Restorative Justice Garden, raising fresh produce for area food banks. She also volunteers to work overtime as a corrections officer on the weekends. 

Craft Masters

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on health care workers, nursing home staff, child care providers and other professionals who work in close contact with the people they serve — including corrections staff. To help out, innovative team members in restorative justice have channeled offender sewing skills into production of protective supplies.


Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center staff lead Restorative Justice participants in sewing fabric face covers for area health care workers and senior centers. So far, the team has produced more than 800 face covers. Recently they donated 100 to Pike County Memorial Hospital, 150 to Herman Area District Hospital, and 160 to Children's Mercy Hospital. 

Scrub Caps

Algoa Correctional Center Restorative Justice program participants made these colorful scrub caps for staff at the Community Health Center of Central Missouri.

Throughout the crisis, Algoa staff have led offenders in face-cover creation and other projects that help fellow Missourians on the front lines.

JCCC masks

Starting in March, Jefferson City Correctional Center shifted its Restorative Justice quilt-making operations to face-cover production.

Under staff direction, offenders recently made 1,022 fabric masks for institutional food service, medical, recreation and mental health staff and then made 1,100 more for MU Health Care in Columbia. 

Treat Sharers

Sometimes the best way to build camaraderie and reduce stress is through comfort food. Members of the corrections team reach out to each other and front line workers through snacks. 

Law Enforcement Snacks

In a show of gratitude for law enforcement during these stressful times, the Probation & Parole District 5 team in Warrensburg baked homemade snacks and assembled grab-and-go goody bags for officers, dispatchers and other staff in area emergency management, police departments, sheriffs' departments and jails.

The result was a delicious and much-appreciated thank-you to our partners in making Missouri safer.

Treat Sharing

To lift their spirits, members of the Northeast Correctional Center team donated treats and small gifts for a drawing.

Everyone at work that day had a chance to win a small token of appreciation — a simple way to boost morale . 

ice cream social

District 24 Administrator Cicely Riley gathered staff for an ice cream social ... at a social distance. Attendees enjoyed individually wrapped treats while spaced out safely throughout the district parking lot.

The event gave staff a chance to catch up with one another and discuss plans for safe offender management practices as the state begins to reopen.

Garden Growers

The public health crisis has hit Missouri dinner tables. Some Missourians face income loss and food insecurity resulting from illnesses, unemployment, underemployment, childcare shortages, and the temporary closure of nonprofit organizations that give support.

garden collaboration

Corrections teams are helping to fill in the food gaps.

Our staff members are working with the Missouri Department of Social Services to get vital supplies for Restorative Justice so prison gardens can increase production and better serve Missourians in need. Recently, Strawberry Hill Farms donated 1,084 tomato plants and 871 bell pepper plants, collected by our Reentry Unit's Marty Meyer.


Restorative Justice gardens in Missouri prisons are beginning to yield fresh fruits and vegetables for food banks and other organizations feeding Missourians -- including families affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Following its first harvest of the season, Boonville Correctional Center donated 175 pounds of radishes to Prairie Home Methodist Church.

Face to Face

New video highlights community supervision center success

Face to Face

Back in January 2020, guests from the Governor's Office and the Council of State Governments toured the Fulton Community Supervision Center and interviewed residents. This powerful video showcases the results of the groundbreaking work done by staff in our CSCs. Watch the video »

Jason Lewis Named Deputy Division Director


Jason Lewis has been named deputy division director for the Missouri Department of Corrections Division of Adult Institutions, effective May 4, 2020.

A member of the Department of Corrections team since 2001, Lewis has served as an education supervisor at Southeast Correctional Center (SECC) and an education supervisor, assistant warden and deputy warden at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (ERDCC). He became the warden at SECC in 2016.

Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master's degree in education from Central Methodist University.

MO Learning and Training Requirements

More than half of the statewide MODOC team takes part in MO Learning, a collection of more than 7,000 courses available to Missouri state government staff free of charge through LinkedIn Learning. For corrections teams, LinkedIn Learning also can help staff meet some, but not all, training requirements online.

MO Learning serves TWO main purposes for our staff.   

  1. MO Learning allows us to take courses that, if on the approved electives list, may count toward mandatory yearly training requirements.
  1. MO Learning is also a fringe benefit of employment, providing access to additional learning opportunities for personal and professional growth. State employees have access to MO Learning 24/7, not just at work.

Not all MO Learning courses will be approved for credit toward your mandatory training requirements. Effective May 15, 2020, only MO Learning courses on the approved Staff Training Electives List count toward mandatory training requirements. Learn more »

Online University Scholarship Opportunity

This year marks the seventh anniversary of Western Governors University (WGU) Missouri. To celebrate, WGU is offering Missourians a special scholarship worth up to $7,000.

WGU, a fully online, competency-based university, offers more than 60 accredited bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in business, information technology, K–12 education, and health professions, including nursing. A state-based subsidiary of the nationally recognized, accredited nonprofit Western Governors University, WGU Missouri is open to all qualified Missouri residents. It’s designed to fit the busy lives — and often tight budgets — of working adult students.

Learn more and apply through WGU »

ENGAGE 2.0: What to Do In June

Evaluations, Feedback & Timing


March 2020 marked the rollout of ENGAGE 2.0 — with new components designed to generate more feedback between supervisors and staff. Despite the extra challenge our staff faced that month, members of the corrections team successfully completed the new evaluations and upward feedback.

The second round of completing evaluation and upward feedback forms takes place June 1-30. This month all supervisors must complete evaluations of their direct reports, and all staff have the option to provide upward feedback to their supervisors. 

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

COVID-19: Department of Corrections Response


Get the latest information on what the Missouri Department of Corrections is doing to protect staff and offenders during the COVID-19 health crisis by visiting our updates page. Check out the data page for the numbers of new and total cases.

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 the exceptional role corrections staff are playing in keep Missouri safe.

June News Coverage


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 back what has been said.