Family and Friends Newsletter-August 2020

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missouri department of corrections

Family and Friends Newsletter | August 2020

COVID-19 Testing Continues


The Department of Corrections continues to employ multiple COVID-19 testing strategies:

  • Symptomatic
  • Contact
  • Intake
  • Pre-release
  • Boxed-in
  • Mass testing
  • Surveillance

Mass testing of all offenders and staff at all facilities-regardless of symptoms or the presence of known cases-has taken place at all facilities. 

The department has begun surveillance testing, a random sampling of 10% of the population of each facility is tested, to help identify possible asymptomatic outbreaks.  The department also continues to test offenders on intake, before release, when symptoms are present, and when an offender has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

  • Offenders who test positive for COVID-19 are isolated until they test negative.
  • Staff who test positive are sent home on leave and must test negative twice before returning to work.
  • All staff who have close contact with a positive are sent home for two weeks of quarantine.

Compared to all other state departments of corrections in the United States, Missouri ranks in the top 4 for COVID testing rates (more offenders tested per capita) and below the national average for infection rates, according to data from the COVID Prison Project. Missouri's prison COVID infection rate is lower than that of all bordering states, and the positivity rate inside Missouri prisons remains lower than the positivity rate for the state's population as a whole.

COVID-Free Facilities Welcome Visitors

ACC Visiting room

As the department continues COVID-19 testing, we're beginning a gradual return to more normal operations at locations with no cases of the virus. Limited visiting is underway, with restrictions and by appointment only, at

  • Algoa Correctional Center 
  • Jefferson City Correctional Center
  • Kansas City Reentry Center
  • Moberly Correctional Center
  • Western Missouri Correctional Center. 

Visiting is scheduled to resume at Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center in St. Joseph Sept. 10.

Call the facility to schedule an appointment at these facilities.   New restrictions are in place to protect health and safety. Updates will be provided as available.

Education continues during COVID


August is Back-to-School Month; however in the Missouri Department of Corrections (MODOC), school is in session all year. As schools in our communities prepare for the uncertainty of how school will look this fall, in the Department of Corrections, education teams have already found ways — amid COVID-19 restrictions, staffing challenges, technological limits and other obstacles — to keep school in session.

The implementation of viral containment strategies in Missouri prisons has created new challenges for education staff. Group-size limits affect classroom meetings. Volunteer restrictions have halted in-person college courses and other academic support. Solutions that may work in the outside world — streaming video, web-based learning modules — don’t necessarily translate to prison, where unrestricted internet access can threaten institutional security.

In our new climate, education staff have rearranged schedules to create smaller in-person classes and avoid contact among students from different housing units. They've developed extra materials for learning outside the classroom. They also have taken on extra duties to compensate for volunteer absences and staffing shortages.

At Algoa Correctional Center, academic supervisors, career and tech supervisors, and their teaching and support teams have piloted a plan for entering supplemental education resources on offender tablets.

Staff upload readings, videos, quizzes and other educational materials to sync with JPay tablets. Students can keep learning between sessions, doing school work in their housing units or cells. Each semester, more than 500 offenders enroll in Ashland University tablet-based college courses. Those classes continue, and offenders are still earning college credits using an app on JPay tablets.

Education plays a huge role in the department's mission of improving lives for safer communities.

SCAM ALERT - It has recently come to the attention of the Department, that loved ones of  incarcerated individuals have received calls soliciting funds to expedite the release of an offender.  The Department of Corrections does not solicit funds from the family of offenders nor does the Department have a program requiring funds from the family to expedite an offender's release. If you receive such a call or any call soliciting funds, please do not wire funds to an unknown individual.  You can check the legitimacy of such a call by contacting the Department of Corrections.