Family and Friends Newsletter-March 2021

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missouri department of corrections

Family and Friends Newsletter | March 2021

Vaccinations and Visiting

Get the Vax

There currently are COVID-19 cases in less than 0.1% of the offender population. Most facilities have NO CASES of COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccinations are underway for offenders eligible in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination rollout plan. So far we have vaccinated more than 5,115 offenders, or about 22% of the statewide prison population.

On April 9, all adults in Missouri will become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. This means all residents of Missouri Department of Corrections facilities will be eligible. Offenders are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect their health and the fastest way to reopen programming, visits and other activities. Nationwide, the COVID vaccine supply is starting to catch up with the demand, and we expect the vaccination rollout to speed up soon. However, vaccine supplies might be limited at the beginning of Phase 3, so everyone's patience is appreciated.

The department plans to resume visits with friends and family when approximately 70% of the resident population of each facility has been vaccinated against COVID-19, significantly reducing the risk of future outbreaks.

Here’s what we know about the COVID vaccine:

It works.
Studies show COVID-19 vaccines are 85-95% effective at preventing serious COVID-related illness.

It’s safe.
All COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. have been thoroughly evaluated for safety. More than 100 million doses have been administered.

It’s everyone’s responsibility.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your peers and your family.

It’s the fastest, easiest way to get back to normal.
The pandemic won’t be over until the virus stops spreading. The more people get vaccinated, the sooner we all can get back to doing things that make our lives better.

More information about visiting will be provided as it becomes available.

Washington University Prison Education Program


Washington University’s Prison Education Project (PEP) has won a two-year, $980,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support social justice and education access in Missouri prisons.

Launched in 2014, PEP provides a structured but wide-ranging liberal arts education to students at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC), a men’s medium-security prison 30 miles from St. Louis. It currently offers 16 courses per academic year, as well as two degrees: an Associate in Arts (Liberal Arts) and a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Studies.  The Mellon Grant will enable PEP to significantly improve its use of digital technology, both to supplement in-person teaching and to support remote instruction. In addition, the grant will allow PEP to expand to Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center, located in Vandalia, Missouri to strengthen its post-incarceration reentry program; and to inaugurate a series of interdisciplinary, humanities-based courses.

Going forward, PEP will use Mellon funding to establish a dedicated computer room for students at MECC, and to develop and expand The Learning Center, an offline learning management system recently initiated by a team of incarcerated developers at the Missouri Department of Correction’s (DOC) facility in Potosi.  

The Mellon funding also will enable PEP to hire two new staff members — a reentry case manager and a PEP alumni coordinator — for its reentry program. Launched in 2019, the reentry program pairs PEP students with master of social work candidates in WashU’s Brown School to develop educational, vocational and personal post-release plans. The new staff members will: facilitate programming and workshops related to job readiness, financial literacy, housing and other topics; cultivate a community of St. Louis-area PEP alumni; and foster and maintain relationships with local and national reentry organizations as well as the WashU Career Center.

For more information about the Washington University Prison Education Project, visit For more information about the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation or The Future of Higher Learning in Prison, visit

Resources for Families of Incarcerated Individuals

Crime Tips Hotline-Individuals who are involved in illicit or illegal activities make it harder for everyone and such activities can place all of us at risk. Because prison is a place where these types of activities occur, the Department has established a way for you and the offenders to report such activities. If you are aware of inappropriate or illegal activities occurring, you may call the Crime Tips Hotline at (573) 526-7000. If an offender wishes to report such activities, they may do so by calling *9555 from an inmate phone within the prison. Be sure to leave as much information as possible to include dates, names and times. Remember keeping illegal activities out of the prisons keeps everyone safer.