Staff Newsletter | January 2022

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missouri department of corrections

Employee Newsletter   |  January 2022

A Year of Growth

21 Things the Missouri Department of Corrections Did in 2021

21 Things the Missouri Department of Corrections Did in 2021

Armed with lessons learned from 2020 and renewed commitment to our mission, in the year 2021, the Missouri Department of Corrections set about making our facilities and our communities better places to live and work.

For corrections staff, 2021 brought big pay raises; better onboarding; safer workplaces; enhanced training and development; expanded wellness and trauma resources; and greater recognition for the heroic work corrections staff perform every day.

Inside and outside our institutions, we took a more holistic approach to behavioral health, while expanding programs to reach more people. To help build the state's workforce, we rolled out new vocational and academic education programs, leading to degrees, certifications and job offers. With the help of the volunteers, we welcomed back to our facilities in 2021, we also facilitated community service through Restorative Justice and other programs, helping kids and families throughout the state.

Take a look at just a few of the thousands of accomplishments our team made in 2021 »

Culinary Masterpiece

Algoa Culinary Arts Program Constructs Gingerbread Capitol


When gingerbread season rolled around in the Algoa Correctional Center Culinary Arts program, vocational teacher Mary Connell encouraged her students to challenge themselves. In addition to building traditional A-frame houses topped with cereal-tile roofs and inhabited by gummy bear families, the students took on the task of constructing a massive gingerbread replica of the Missouri State Capitol, in honor of the state's bicentennial.


Under Connnell's guidance, the team drew out their plans to scale and got to work on construction, along the way conquering obstacles such as the creation of curved gingerbread components for the Capitol dome. The resulting massive edible structure — 50 inches long, 25 inches wide and 36 inches tall — had to be moved in sections and re-assembled in its home on display in ACC's administrative building.

The builders paid careful attention to detail; the gingerbread Capitol is even topped with a tiny replica of the real Capitol's statue of Ceres, goddess of agriculture, made with a 3D printer with help from automotive vocational teacher Kenneth Connell.

The project gained attention from Governor Mike Parson, "Ceres" and local media. Missourinet interviewed Connell about her 22 years of service to the department and the culinary arts program for the radio show Show Me Today.

Listen to the interview here »

Caring for the Community

Staff Make Happier Holidays for Missouri Kids

Shop with a Hero

In December, Missouri Department of Corrections staff throughout the state took part in programs through which first responders take low-resource children shopping for holiday gifts. In donor-funded programs such as Shop with a Cop, Shop with a Hero and Operation TOYS, members of the corrections team joined local law enforcement, state troopers, firefighters and other community heroes to create Christmas magic.

Other corrections staff, in and out of uniform, contributed to the Prison Fellowship Angel Tree program, wherein volunteers buy holiday gifts for kids on behalf of their incarcerated parents. In Central Office, staff contributed 222 gifts for 111 kids in 49 mid-Missouri households.

New Year, New Paycheck

Governor Proposes 5.5% Pay Increase for All State Employees

State government leaders have recommended another pay raise for our staff that, if approved, would go into effect in early 2022.

During the 2021 legislative session, Governor Parson recommended and the Missouri General Assembly approved pay increases for certain classes of corrections employees — food service workers, corrections officers, sergeants and lieutenants — ranging from 5.8% to 15%. These increases went into effect July 1, 2021.

The General Assembly also approved a 2% pay increase for all other state employees. This increase went into effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Now Governor Parson is recommending that all state employees get an additional 5.5% pay increase, effective Feb. 1, 2022.

The recommended plan also includes funding to set the minimum salary for all state employees at $15 per hour, as well as funding to address compression issues between pay grades after base pay increases.

If approved, the newest proposed investment will bring the Correctional Officer I starting salary to $37,980, an increase of more than $8,700, or about 30%, over the last five years.

November 2021 Employee of the Month

Will Dixon November EOM

Will Dixon, a unit supervisor in Probation & Parole District 6, goes out of his way to help clients.

When a client assigned to a different unit reported to his district office, Dixon took the time to meet with the client, research his case and ensure he had safe transportation home.

On another occasion, when a client was missing and believed to pose a danger to himself, Dixon used his investigative skills to locate the client and, with the help of two teammates, deescalated a tense situation while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.

Dixon also makes a special effort to help colleagues. He mentors new staff. He has served as chair of the District 6 Safety Committee and regional representative to the statewide Safety and Wellness Committee. He also has teamed up with the Boone County Violence Crimes Task Force to help with investigations of District 6 clients.

Courage in Crisis

Potosi Sergeant and Captain Earn Director's Award of Valor

Award of Valor - Potosi

Two everyday superheroes at Potosi Correctional Center have been recognized for their bravery. When an offender attacked a PCC officer earlier this year, restraining her and holding a homemade weapon to her throat, Sergeant David Montgomery and Captain Timothy Brown did not hesitate to intervene — risking their own safety. One took control of the offender's arm to move the weapon away from the officer while the other placed himself between the threatened officer and the weapon, enabling her to escape. For this exceptional act of courage, both Montgomery and Brown have been presented with the Director's Award of Valor.

CIT Champion

Moberly Team Member Recognized for Excellence in Crisis Intervention

CIT - Megan Morrison

Correctional Case Manager II Megan Morrison recently earned the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) quarterly Spotlight award. The CIT steering committee selected Morrison for this honor in recognition of her exceptional work as a champion of CIT.

Every day at Moberly Correctional Center, she goes above and beyond to de-escalate what could become dangerous situations. Morrison works directly with MCC residents who have severe mental illness, helping to keep them, as well as other offenders and staff, safe.

The department's adoption of Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT), an international program that originated with law enforcement professionals, started in 2014 at Jefferson City Correctional Center, where staff members were equipped with the skills they needed to recognize mental health issues, verbally de-escalate tense situations and prevent major crises. Administrators immediately saw a 50% decrease in uses of force. Since then the program has become an integral part of corrections culture, transforming how staff and offenders think about behavioral health.

Duty & Dignity

Honor Guard Represents Missouri Nationwide


The Missouri Department of Corrections Honor Guard members recently attended the 40th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Officers Terry Wadley, Dustin Layton and Isabelle Taube from Jefferson City Correctional Center; Brian Fisher and Carrie Daniels from Boonville Correctional Center; and Roy Higashi from South Central Correctional Center represented the department.  

The national ceremony honors law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The event included a Roll Call of Heroes and remarks by President Joe Biden.


2021 was a big year for the Honor Guard. Clad in the sharp new uniforms we rolled out in January, the guard represented the department and the state at events nationwide.

Other highlights included the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation (CPOF) annual conference, the Governor’s Inaugural Bicentennial Parade, and local holiday parades in communities such as Chillicothe and Bonne Terre.


Empowering Officers

Probation & Parole Expands Arrest Team Training

arrest team class 2

The Division of Probation & Parole (P&P) is finding safer and more efficient ways to apprehend clients in violation of their terms of supervision.

p-p arrest pilot

In the Arrest Team pilot program, officers are taking classes with university police academy trainers, building skills needed to make safe arrests. The program empowers officers to more comprehensively manage their own clients while alleviating the strain on local law enforcement agencies.

The second Arrest Team expansion training class wrapped up in November, with staff from three Kansas City offices (Districts 4, 4C and 24) and District 2 completing their certification to begin making arrests on clients assigned to their districts. Presented by University of Missouri Police Academy trainers at the Kansas City Police Department’s Training Academy, the training covered floor fighting, handcuffing, escort techniques, transportation and tasers.

The next Arrest Team expansion training will take place in Springfield in January, with a final class held in Kansas City in February 2022.

New Year, New Staff

Six New Officers Rise to the Head of the Class

honor students

Congratulations to new Correctional Officers I Bobby Beardsley, Colton Nichols, Tina Oawster, Dakota Godfrey, Taylor Massey and Tommy Cain, recipients of the Director of Staff Training & Development Coin of Excellence for classes 6 and 7 at each of the department's three training centers. The team members were nominated by peers and selected by training center staff for demonstrating a high standard of excellence in areas including attendance, appearance, class conduct, class participation and test scores during basic training.

Success Story

Offender Program Leads to Flourishing Business

Trey Dawson

Trey Dawson struggled with substance use and spent much of his early adulthood in and out of dozens of county jails and state prisons in multiple states. It was at Algoa Correctional Center, where he had the chance to participate in Puppies for Parole, that he discovered his passion for training rescue dogs.

After release from prison on Christmas 2019, he found a home with In2Action, the Columbia reentry program run by former offender Dan Hanneken. There, he connected with the house dog, Jobe, and was inspired to pursue dog training as a career.

Now Dawson owns Backyard K9, a business offering one-on-one and small-group training services for dogs and their owners. He also serves as the In2Action activities coordinator, acting as a role model for other men involved in the criminal justice system.

See his story on KOMU »

Spiritual Matters

Bishops Visit Prison Chapels

Algoa mass

During the holiday season, two bishops performed Catholic masses in prison chapels, with Bishop W. Shawn McKnight visiting Jefferson City Correctional Center and Algoa Correctional Center, while Bishop Mark S. Rivituso visited Missouri Eastern Correctional Center.

2021 saw spiritual expansion for the department. MODOC earned the Department of Corrections Excellence in Moral Rehabilitation Award from the Prison Seminaries Foundation. In part, the award recognized the Freedom on the Inside prison seminary program, wherein offender-students at Jefferson City Correctional Center earn bachelor’s degrees in Christian studies through Hannibal Lagrange University in preparation to become peer ministers.

This fall, Chaplain Matt Mason talked to a Kansas City audience about the challenges and reward of working as a prison chaplain.

Ambassador Spotlight

Corrections Way ambassadors serve a vital role in supporting The Corrections Way, a foundation of
conduct and communication built around a core of common values guiding our work. Ambassadors steer fellow staff to resources and answer questions about Corrections Way training, practice and initiatives.

Meet some ambassadors:

Bonne Terre Ambassadors

Tim Freeman, Bryan Strange, David Howe, Renee Neel, Joseph Rackovan, Brian Boyer, Heather Turner, Gregory Smith, Dennis Cox and Michelle Dalton

ERDCC corrections way ambassadors

Currently the Corrections Way Ambassadors team at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (ERDCC) is working on team building, morale and understanding through games, competitions and enhanced onboarding.

Supervisor Savvy

To boost understanding, ambassadors have introduced the game Know Your Supervisor. Multiple supervisors from various units take turns being "it," and ERDCC staff vote on what communication style best fits each supervisor. Those who get the right answer, showing how well they know their people, can win small prizes. A grand prize winner is named after votes have been tallied for all participating supervisors. A big benefit: The game has sparked conversations between staff and ambassadors about communication styles and how they affect workplace interactions.

Festive Flair

With a focus on building morale and teamwork, ambassadors introduced Decorate Your Area, a competition in which groups of staff can work together to decorate their work areas for upcoming holidays. Three nonparticipants will judge the decor. The winning team is presented with a trophy and proudly displays it until the next holiday, when they have to compete to keep it.

Extra Orientation

Another focus is on welcoming new hires to the ERDCC team. CS-I David Howe and CS-I Bryan Strange now meet with new hires immediately after basic training, visiting the training building to review the basics, share insights and guidance, and give the new team members the chance to ask questions. This session reinforces what they've learned before and during basic training, while letting them know the ERDCC team has their backs.

Help, Hope & Healing

Seminar Supports Corrections Professionals Affected by Trauma and Stress


Registration is now open for the spring 2022 Post Critical Incident Seminar for staff experiencing post-traumatic stress.

The Post Critical Incident Seminar (PCIS) is a three-day intensively focused therapeutic event designed to assist corrections personnel experiencing traumatic stress following involvement in a serious incident.

Trauma exposure can change the human psyche and one’s worldview, which may make it difficult to return to a normal level of daily functioning. This event will encourage corrections personnel with similar experiences to convene and begin or further their recovery process, turning trauma into strength. Behavioral health service providers from outside the department, as well as specially trained peers familiar with corrections culture, will facilitate support.

How does it work? Who should attend? Get details here.

For more information, Meckenzie Hayes at 573-526-3021 or


Confidentiality in the Peer Action Care Team

The department's peer support program, the Peer Action Care Team (P.A.C.T.), is made up of staff at each worksite or Probation and Parole region who are able to provide information, resources and confidential support to employees who experience personal or workplace stress or potentially traumatic events.


Is information I share really kept confidential?

P.A.C.T. members are held to the highest standards of confidentiality. Only in certain extraordinary circumstances can your information be shared without your permission. The P.A.C.T. team is required to complete brief documentation after assisting an employee. This information is shared only with the Peer Support Coordinator in order to ensure all needs are being met. De-identified data is collected in order to track utilization of the program. If you believe your information has been inappropriately used, please contact the P.A.C.T. Coordinator at 573-526-3021 or contact the CLEAR Line at 573-526-7000.

How do I become a P.A.C.T. member?

Notify your supervisor or the P.A.C.T. Leader at your worksite. You can also contact the PACT Coordinator. You will need to complete the required application and be approved by your CAO. Upon approval, you will be scheduled for training.

 New P.A.C.T. policy improvements coming soon!!!

To learn more about P.A.C.T., refer to policy D2-15.8 or contact: Meckenzie Hayes, LCSW, Manager of Trauma-Informed Employee Care at 573-526-3021 or

Give it Your Best Shot

Get a Flu Vaccine


When flu season and a pandemic converge, protecting public health gets even more complicated. It's up to us to do all we can to reduce risks to ourselves, our teams, our families and our communities.

The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated every year. The flu vaccine can not only significantly decrease the chance that you'll get the flu but also reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization — as well as the severity of illness if you still get sick after being vaccinated.

The Department of Corrections offers on-site flu vaccine clinics. Check in with your employee health nurse, or find a vaccine site near you.

Need inspiration? Watch Nurse Amy Kitchens give Director Anne Precythe a flu shot »

Get a COVID Booster


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have approved COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for all adults. It is strongly recommended for people who are at high risk of infection because they live or work in high-risk settings. This includes corrections staff.

Protect yourself, your family and your team by getting a COVID booster shot. Find a vaccination provider at

Training & Development


ENGAGE 2.0 Updates

Recent changes in the Missouri state government ENGAGE 2.0 professional-development program went into effect Oct. 1. Supervisors' evaluations of their staff now take place twice a year, in March and September. ENGAGE conversations between supervisors and staff take place on the non-evaluation months, 10 times per year.

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. This month: Learn how to become an adjunct instructor.

Growing the Team

Welcoming & Keeping Staff

When it comes to our statewide staffing situation, the tide is turning. Our goal is to build on this progress. Here are a few things we're working on:

  • Employment applications are now being accepted and processed in the simpler, streamlined program ApplicantPro.
  • A recently completed ad campaign features video, audio, digital and print ads across multiple media platforms throughout the state.
  • Expanded partnerships with local chambers of commerce and job centers are boosting our visibility and extending our reach.
  • Our presence at career fairs and hiring events held throughout the state gives recruiters face-to-face contact with job seekers.
  • Individual facilities are trying out creative recruitment strategies — everything from pool parties to vehicle magnets.

Recruitment Incentive Program Gives Staff Up to $1,000 for Referrals

In the department's incentive program, staff can earn up to $1,000 for each successful referral of a new correctional officer or food service worker (cook).

  • A one-time payment of $250 will be added to the referring staff member’s semi-monthly salary after each applicant referred by the staff member has been hired and has successfully completed basic training. The staff member’s salary returns to the normal rate of pay after one pay cycle.
  • An additional one-time payment of $750 will be added to the referring staff member’s semi-monthly salary when each referred applicant has reached six months of employment with the department. The staff member’s salary returns to the normal rate of pay after one pay cycle.
  • Refer a new hire, and complete the Incentive Program form for corrections officers or cooks.
  • Referrals who are not hired within six months of receipt of the referral form will no longer be tracked or considered for the incentive program.

This program is open to all corrections staff except those designated as Missouri Department of Corrections recruiters or staff representing MODOC at recruiting events.

Learn more »

Strategic Plan

FY 22 Strategic Plan

The state’s business cycle runs on a fiscal year timeframe, this year from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022 (FY2022). Each year we articulate our priorities to support better government in Missouri through our strategic plan. In fiscal year 2022, our mission and our goals remain constant, but our strategic initiatives continue to evolve. We are building on past years' success and adding new priorities.

Take a look at our strategic plan and initiatives for fiscal year 2022.


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

Build Rapport with Coworkers


We're working hard to recruit and retain staff and to make the Missouri Department of Corrections a great place to work. Teamwork is essential to everything we do. It helps ensure safety. It makes us stronger. It even brings a little more fun to our daily jobs.


  • Listen to your coworkers, and show empathy.
  • Share ideas, and collaborate on projects.
  • Work together to solve problems and resolve conflicts.