Staff Newsletter | December 2020 / January 2021

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missouri department of corrections

Employee Newsletter   |  December 2020 - January 2021

20 Things the Missouri Department of Corrections Did in 2020

20 Things Collage

Many words have been used to describe 2020. Unprecedented. Uncertain. Unstable. For corrections professionals, there’s another: unmatched. In the face of a public health crisis, as well as the day-to-day-dangers the work presents, in 2020 our staff on the front lines showed exemplary dedication and courage. They also got a lot done.

In 2020, the corrections team expanded community treatment, transformed probation and parole, and became a national role model for reentry. We produced pandemic safety supplies for the state, installed COVID-killing devices in our buildings, and gained national attention for proactive viral containment and comprehensive testing. We provided education, treatment, nutrition and guidance for incarcerated Missourians. Throughout, we took the time to support fellow front-liners, feed local families, give back to the community and, in the face of obstacles, kept our sprits up.

Take a look back at 20 things the Missouri Department of Corrections did in 2020 »

Light at the End of the Tunnel

COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Begins, With Corrections Staff in Phase 1


Nationwide rollout of a newly approved COVID-19 vaccine is underway. Each state in the U.S. has developed a three-phase vaccine distribution plan, with priority groups targeted for vaccination in each phase. According to a survey by the Prison Policy Initiative, Missouri is one of only 11 states in the U.S. to include corrections staff in Phase 1. That means the State of Missouri is making your health a top priority. All corrections staff will have the opportunity to be vaccinated against this virus months before the vaccine is widely available. State government recognizes the important work corrections professionals do in an often-dangerous environment. It’s essential that we keep you, your teammates and your families as safe and healthy as possible. The vaccine is not mandatory. However, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies indicate it’s the most effective method available to prevent COVID-related illness and the fastest way to stop the pandemic.

Corrections staff are included in Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout, following health care workers and nursing home residents. Offenders are included in Phase 2. Once the timelines and the list of locations to receive the vaccine have been finalized, the department will provide all staff with that information and make the vaccine available to those who want it. Meanwhile, get updates at the state’s COVID-19 vaccine website, Be sure to check the facts page:

COVID-Killing Technologies Installed in MODOC Facilities

Implementation of two new technological innovations in the Missouri Department of Corrections aims to cut COVID-19 infection rates in Missouri state prisons and other facilities. These strategies:

  • Kill the virus in the air
  • Kill the virus on surfaces

The department now has ionization generators — air purifying devices that, when installed in air handling systems, destroy 99.4% of COVID-19 within 30 minutes. Using needlepoint ionization, the devices also kill other viruses, bacteria, mold, allergens and pollutants, reducing health risks for people living and working in prisons. More than 1,468 units soon will be in use at all prisons, community supervision centers, the Transition Center of St. Louis, and other state-owned facilities. Installation is underway.


The department is procuring electrostatic disinfectant sprayers with vital oxide disinfectant. This cleaning system instantly covers surfaces with a fine disinfecting mist, killing COVID-19 and other pathogens on contact. Corrections offices and the common areas inside prisons and other facilities will be treated with this system on a regular schedule, supplementing the aggressive cleaning regimen already in place. Probation and Parole districts have 20 sprayers, and 20 more are on their way to adult institutions.

Stopping the Spread


Although a COVID vaccine is on the way and risk-reduction strategies are in place, Missourians must remain diligent to protect ourselves, our colleagues, our families and our communities from COVID-19. In the Missouri Department of Corrections, we see firsthand how serious the can be. In a new video, members of the MODOC team share why they're working hard to stop the spread of this virus during the holidays. 

Watch the video »

December 2020 Employee of the Month


Sharon Myler, a probation and parole supervisor in District 10, understands the importance of self-care for people on the front lines. In her role as a Corrections Way ambassador, during the COVID-19 pandemic Myler has emphasized ensuring both that staff take care of themselves and that supervisors check in on the well-being of their teams. In her own district, she has focused on working to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on officer workloads. She has shifted caseloads so that officers with high numbers of clients requiring face-to-face contacts get help and support from teammates.



Boonville Correctional Center's Ashley Coffelt Wells and Hayley Joyce earned the 2020 Missouri State Employee of Distinction award in the innovation category. Coffelt Wells and Joyce created the Empowering Dads Embracing Fatherhood program, which gives incarcerated dads who comply with BCC rules the chance to spend one-on-one time with their kids on special designated days when kids are out of school. Dads and kids ages 4-17 have the chance to play games, eat snacks, run around and build better parent-child bonds, preparing them for a stronger relationship after release.

Season of Giving

Restorative Justice Fuels Toys for Tots

toys for tots

Some Cooper County kids will have happier holidays this year thanks to Boonville Correctional Center team. The Restorative Justice Organization held a fundraiser to buy gifts for area children. Participants were thrilled to donate toys, games, sporting goods, furniture and more to Cooper County Toys for Tots.

Mid-Missouri Officers Take Kids on Shopping Sprees

Shop with a cop 2020

Staff from Jefferson City Correctional CenterAlgoa Correctional Center and Tipton Correctional Center joined Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement bright and early on a cold pre-Christmas morning to take part in Operation TOYS. Throughout the state, pandemic restrictions have meant some changes for shop-with-a-cop programs, in which area kids with limited resources shop with officers for holiday gifts. In Jefferson City, Walmart was able to safely (and merrily) accommodate the teams.

Staff Give to SERVE


The generous staff at Cremer Therapeutic Community Center have donated $1,000 to SERVE Inc. of Callaway County to help fund the organization's Adopt-a-Family holiday program. The program provides food baskets to qualifying families and helps ensure that Callaway County children have at least four gifts to open on Christmas morning: something to wear, something to read, something they want and something they need.

Restorative Justice Sews for Rainbow House


Just in time for winter, the Jefferson City Correctional Center Restorative Justice Organization donated more than 100 blankets and quilts to Rainbow House children's shelter in Columbia. Rainbow House temporarily houses children who have been displaced or who live in domestic violence situations. The quilts — including four weighted quilts designed to soothe anxiety — were made by JCCC residents who are proud to give back to the community and help fellow Missourians.

Staff Support Local Food Banks

SEMO Food Bank

Last month Southeast Correctional Center staff donated 335 pounds of nonperishable food to the Southeast Missouri Food Bank. The pandemic has taken its toll on countless families’ finances, and Missourians facing food insecurity continue to need our help. Corrections stepped up this year. While staff held donation drives for nonperishable foods, Restorative Justice gardens in Missouri prisons produced more than 36 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables for donation to local food banks.

food pantry

Probation & Parole District 15 staff joined forces with Jefferson County partners to support the Hillsboro Food Pantry. Working with the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney’s office, the public defender’s office, several offices in the courthouse and the Jefferson County Jail, the group donated more than 2,383 food items and $1,150.

In all regions, members of Probation and Parole's Food Insecurity Workgroup have connected with food banks throughout the state, volunteering time, collecting donations and raising funds to help keep food pantries afloat and keep Missourians fed. 

Ambassadors Buy Books for Kids


When Corrections Way ambassadors at Chillicothe Correctional Center planted a tree in the facility, it launched a revolution. To help raise funds for the nonprofit initiative Kindness Revolution in Chillicothe, the ambassadors affixed a paper tree to the wall and offered staff the chance to buy leaves for $1 each to support childhood literacy. Donations collected funded the purchase of $506 in Scholastic books for area elementary school students.

Training & Development


ENGAGE 2.0 Training

New ENGAGE 2.0 trainings are available in MO Learning. All team members who have not already completed ENGAGE 2.0 training must complete these requirements. 

Training Academy Newsletter

Check out Training Academy Corner, a monthly newsletter of the Missouri Department of Corrections Training Academy, to meet new trainers and stay up to date on training requirements and course offerings. 

Staff Higher Education Options

Park University Tuition Discounts

Park University

A new partnership with Park University in Parkville gives Missouri Department of Corrections staff a 10% tuition discount, an application fee waiver and other benefits for enrolling in courses at the campus in Parkville, at satellite sites or online. Undergraduate and graduate courses are available in more than 100 programs, including criminal justice administration, public administration, social work, legal studies, military studies and homeland security. Get started!

Western Governors University Scholarships


In celebration of the 55th anniversary of the completion of the Gateway Arch, Western Governors University Missouri is offering the Gateway to Your Future Scholarship for Missourians who want to enhance their careers with a college degree. The Gateway Arch opened October 28, 1965. WGU wants to celebrate this important legacy.

The scholarships, each valued at up to $2,000 ($500 per six-month term, renewable for up to four terms), will be applied toward WGU Missouri’s already-low tuition for an undergraduate or graduate degree in information technology, nursing and healthcare, business or teacher education.  

Apply by Dec. 31, 2020 at »

Probation & Parole Officer Earns WGU Scholarship


Congratulations to Probation & Parole Officer Sean Hardee, who was surprised with a $5,000 Show Me Your Triumph Scholarship to Western Governors University Missouri. The scholarship is exclusively for State of Missouri staff. Hardee, who works at Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center in St. Joseph, is pursuing a master's degree in information technology management. 


Self-Care in the New Year


The Department of Corrections is investing in your wellness with a FREE annual subscription to Pause First Academy. Created for first responders by first responders, Pause First Academy focuses on the wellbeing of professionals in corrections, law enforcement, the military, social work and related fields. You can take courses on subjects such as resiliency, mindfulness, yoga, nutrition, surviving the holidays and more. Complete the courses online at your own pace, or take part in live courses. New content is available each month.

Some courses are eligible for elective training credits — an added perk!

To enroll, send an email to Once your request has been received, you will receive an email with a link and enrollment instructions from You do not need to set up a new account through the website, and you do not need to pay for your account.

Enrolling in Pause First Academy is not mandatory; it's an optional self-care resource for all MODOC staff.


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

Help Your Teammates Know Their Value

Corrections Way - VALUE

We're working hard to make the Missouri Department of Corrections a great place to work, where everyone understands what they mean to the team. Awards are a wonderful way to help staff feel valued, but there's more we can do every day to show how important each person is to what we do.


  • Give appreciative feedback.
  • Recognize individual strengths.
  • Remember the vital role you play in supporting the department's mission.