Staff Newsletter | July 2022

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missouri department of corrections

Employee Newsletter   |  July 2022

State Launches Crime Initiative


The Transition Center of Kansas City (TCKC) recently hosted Governor Mike Parson and other government and business leaders for the announcement of a statewide initiative aimed at reducing crime in Missouri.

Spearheaded by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, the Safer Missouri, Stronger Missouri plan enlists multiple agencies and organizations in taking steps to stop crime — with many recommendations directly affecting corrections, including:

  • Reduce recidivism among those on probation or parole
  • Increase public safety staffing
  • Improve training and employment opportunities for incarcerated individuals
  • Address substance misuse and mental health

Underscoring the importance of the collaboration, Division of Probation & Parole Director Julie Kempker told the crowd at TCKC that 97% of people currently incarcerated will return to their communities, "and what we have to remember is those are also our communities. Corrections can't do this alone."

Download the report »      Watch event highlights »

Celebrity Guests

TV Star Dog the Bounty Hunter Visits Western Missouri Correctional Center


Duane Chapman, the reality TV star known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, spoke to offenders at Western Missouri Correctional Center (WMCC) last month. Chapman, who served time in a Texas prison in the 1970s, has joined author and prison ministries leader Katie Souza and other fellow former offenders in Expected End Ministries to spread messages of hope, faith and purpose to audiences in U.S. prisons.

In Cameron, the team held a faith-based service aimed at uplifting offenders. The WMCC band performed, with Chaplain Matt Mason on drums, and Chapman talked to the audience about his religious transformation and life after prison. "It's important for me to be here today because this is part of my destiny," Chapman said. "This is the reason God created me."

Watch FOX 4 coverage »

Artist Ibiyinka Alao Visits Jefferson City Correctional Center


United Nations art ambassador Ibiyinka Alao, a world-renowned Nigerian artist, recently visited Jefferson City Correctional Center (JCCC), where he gave an art presentation marked by messages of love, peace and forgiveness and then led offender-artists in an art therapy workshop. JCCC staff members from Nigeria and other West African countries also met with Alao and treated him to a homemade Nigerian feast.


A painter, filmmaker, architect, musician and author, Alao came to the United States after winning first place in the United Nations International Art Competition. He is one of five artists recognized by Global Citizen for spreading peace around the world.

During his JCCC visit, Alao shared images of his art and an original painting inspired by his mother's quilt-making with the audience, which included JCCC artists and Restorative Justice quilt-makers. He also shared stories from his personal life, telling attendees that as a child he was motivated by people from throughout Africa visiting his home to buy his art — only to learn later that his father, a community leader, was paying prisoners to pose as customers.

Alao launched the workshop section of the visit with a painting demonstration and then worked with offender-artists in small groups as they completed watercolor paintings.

See Jefferson City News-Tribune coverage »

Transition Center Welcomes St. Louis Mayor


The Transition Center of St. Louis continues to collaborate with local community partners and stakeholders. Recently St. Louis City Mayor Tishaura Jones toured the facility, learned about programs and met with Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe, Division of Probation & Parole Director Julie Kempker, Probation & Parole staff members and key community partners.

Leadership Changes

Travis Terry Named Division of Adult Institutions Director

Travis Terry

Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) Director Jeff Norman has announced his retirement, effective July 31, 2022, after 25 years of service with the Missouri Department of Corrections, including stints as warden at four institutions. Travis Terry, current director of the Division of Offender Rehabilitative Services (DORS), has been named his successor.

Terry began employment with the Missouri Department of Corrections in 2010 as a vocational education supervisor at Algoa Correctional Center. In 2013, he transferred to Moberly Correctional Center, where he served as education supervisor. In 2018, Terry became DORS assistant division director and the administrator of Missouri Vocational Enterprises. In June 2020, he was appointed DORS director.

Terry holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration-management from the University of Missouri.

David Vandergriff Named Potosi Correctional Center Warden


David Vandergriff has been named warden of Potosi Correctional Center (PCC), effective July 1, 2022. Vandergriff began his career with the Missouri Department of Corrections in August 1994 as a Correctional Officer I at Farmington Correctional Center (FCC).

Beginning in October 2002, Vandergriff served as a sergeant, lieutenant, captain and major at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (ERDCC). In September 2017, he was promoted to deputy warden at FCC and then transferred to PCC, where he served as deputy warden before becoming warden in June 2020.

In November 2020, he transferred to his most recent position, as warden at ERDCC.

Richard Adams Named Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center Warden


Richard Adams has been named warden of Eastern Reception Diagnostic & Correctional Center (ERDCC), effective Aug. 1, 2022.

Adams joined the Missouri Department of Corrections as a Correctional Officer I at Southeast Correctional Center in 2002. At SECC, he served as a sergeant, lieutenant, captain, major, assistant warden and deputy warden. In July 2020, Adams was promoted to warden at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center.

In March 2022, Adams took a role as Division of Adult Institutions Zone III director, overseeing prisons in Bonne Terre, Fulton and Pacific, as well as the Central Transfer Authority and the Security Intelligence Unit. He requested the move to ERDCC to be closer to his family.

June 2022 Employee of the Month


Crystal Burnett, an office support assistant at Western Missouri Correctional Center (WMCC), is the employee of the month for June 2022. Burnett knows how to whip an office into shape. As soon as she started her position in WMCC vocational education, she began transforming operations. She gathered, consolidated and cleaned up the files; improved the records system; and revamped the filing system to make it more consistent with each teacher’s preferences. In the midst of performing these new duties, she also volunteers to help teammates in other sections. Her innovative thinking, positive outlook and commitment to teamwork serve as an example to the department.

Corrections on Parade

MODOC Marches in St. Louis Pride Parade

Pride Parade

Team members from Missouri Eastern (MECC), Northeast (NECC) and Western Missouri (WMCC) correctional centers, as well as Central Office, joined forces in a show of support for the community and LGBTQ+ staff by participating in the Pride St. Louis Grand Pride Parade. As the group made its way through the route, parade-goers cheered and chanted "DOC!" while job-seekers in the crowd collected recruitment materials.

MECC CO III Stephanie Easter coordinated the entry, which featured staff members Sarah Jensen, Lindsay Lee Webb, John Bosch, Austin Mark, Tiffany Smith, Dawn Cavendar-Erangey, Kelsey Miller, Lisa James, Stephanie Easter, Lawanda Johnson, Mr. Ball, Gabrielle Foster, Lanie Moore and Ashley Harl.

Farmington Staff March in Country Days Parade


Farmington Correctional Center (FCC) staff took part in the 2022 Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce Country Days Parade, distributing goodies to the crowd and recruiting new staff.

The group included Corrections Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) members, dog team members and their canine partners, colleagues from Potosi Correctional Center (PCC), and even the family members of FCC staff.

Look for corrections recruiters at community parades throughout Missouri all summer.

Leaders on the Rise

Corrections Rising Stars Join Leadership Academy

Three members of the Missouri Department of Corrections team have been selected for the fall 2022 class of the Missouri Leadership Academy. The academy brings together emerging leaders from across all 16 executive departments to help them build new skills and become better leaders. Using approaches proven successful in other high-performing organizations, MLA aims to accelerate participants' professional growth and prepare emerging leaders to take on new responsibilities and roles.

Mimi Nazu

Assistant Warden Mimi Nazu is responsible for the overall management of classification staff at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center. She also oversees the offender population and the units in which they reside. As an administrator, Nazu is fully involved in the recruitment of custody staff and works cohesively with others for the implementation of best practices.

Nazu began her career with the Department of Corrections as an Correctional Officer I at Algoa Correctional Center in August 2004. She was then promoted to sergeant, Case Manager I and II and functional unit manager. Nazu holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Columbia College and a master's degree in public affairs from the University of Missouri.

Kyle Kempker

Chief of Custody Kyle Kempker is responsible for the overall safety and security of Algoa Correctional Center. He began his career in the Missouri Department of Corrections in September 2012 and earned several promotions leading to his current position as major in 2021.

In addition, he has served in the United States Army Reserves since June 2010 and was a small business owner.

Richard Powell

District Administrator Richard Powell is responsible for oversight of the supervision of more than 1,600 Missourians assigned to Probation & Parole District 8 in St. Louis County. He also serves as the division liaison to the St. Louis County Court and Jail. Powell joined the Department of Corrections in 2010 after serving 18 years with the Department of Social Services Division of Youth Services. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Truman State University.

Agriculture Experts

New summer projects at two facilities are taking food production to the next level.

Offender Garden Takes Root in Moberly

Moberly Offender Garden

The department’s first offender vegetable garden is underway at Moberly Correctional Center (MCC). Supplementing Restorative Justice gardens, which yield fresh fruits and vegetables for donation to local food banks, the offender garden pilot program creates a “farmer’s market” in a Missouri prison. Offender-gardeners grow produce, their peers purchase it through the canteen, and the proceeds are donated to local nonprofit organizations.

The garden project grew out of a recommendation by the offender innovation advisor team in the Prison Research and Innovation Network (PRIN), who proposed the garden as a way to improve offender nutrition, health and morale while giving back to the community. Missouri is one of five states participating in PRIN, an Urban Institute initiative using evidence-based research to identify ways to improve living and working conditions in Missouri prisons.

Woodworking Team Supports Ozark Food Operations

Ozark garden - chickens

Ozark Correctional Center (OCC) groups are hard at work producing fresh food for the community, thanks to facility staff, including Institutional Activities Coordinator Sarah Wormington, and volunteers, such as Mike Haas. Haas and Wormington work with offenders in the Restorative Justice garden and chicken programs, which yield fresh fruits, vegetables and eggs for donation to local nonprofits.

Haas also teaches the wood shop class, where offender-students start by building small projects, such as birdhouses, before moving on to bigger structures created for donation to nonprofit organizations. To support OCC community food production, the team has built a greenhouse and chicken coops.

Community business partners and other donors provide wood, tools and materials for the program, and staff member Kirk Pueppke donated the newest chicks.

Budget Highlights

FY23 Budget Supports Equipment and Infrastructure


Governor Parson has signed into law the state budget passed by the Missouri General Assembly for fiscal year 2023 (FY23), effective July 1, 2022. For the Missouri Department of Corrections, the budget means more investment in staff, facilities, safety equipment and overall infrastructure. Some highlights:

  • Another pay raise: $30 million pay increase that started March 1, bringing the total investment in corrections staff pay increases to more than $113 million over the last 5 years.
  • Reinstatement of the deferred compensation match: When you invest into deferred compensation, the state will match up to a capped dollar amount.
  • Return to Crossroads: $500,000 to move operations from Western Missouri Correctional Center (WMCC) to the newer Crossroads Correctional Center (CRCC); WMCC will become a training facility.
  • Safer prisons: $1.9 million for preventative maintenance contracts affecting boilers, generators, fire alarms, sprinklers and security electronics systems.
  • New radios: $4.6 million to replace radio systems and radios at 14 institutions.
  • New cameras: $11.7 million to replace video storage systems and cameras.
  • Infrastructure: $30 million+ in capital improvement project funding, including water, HVAC and roof upgrades.
  • Broadband expansion: $6.2 for additional fiber optic cable supporting security systems and offender programming.
  • Resolution of pay issues: $56.5 million to resolve the Hootselle lawsuit related to the payment of walking time to staff.

In addition, the General Assembly added a few items that were also signed into law:

  • $2.5 million in funding for additional community reentry services for offenders
  • $4 million to expand medication assisted treatment (MAT) for offenders
  • $550,000 for phase 1 of the establishment of a correctional nursery program
  • Funding to increase the mileage reimbursement rate by an additional $.06 per mile

Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness

Newest Staff Challenge Promotes Social Wellness


From July to October, Missouri Department of Corrections employee wellness efforts will focus on social wellnesshow we treat ourselves and each other.

To participate in the Kindness Counts challenge July 1-31, simply document acts of kindness that you have performed, witnessed or received. Such acts might include positive feedback, help for a colleague or care for your own mental health. Intentionally practicing acts of kindness can make a positive difference at our worksites, in our homes, and in our communities.

Throughout the month of July, use the Kindness Counts form to describe each act of kindness you encounter. Each completed form will be entered into a drawing for 50 Kindness Counts bundles, each of which contains two coffee mugs, two journals and two pens one for you and one to share with a friend. Questions? Contact

988 Goes Live

National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Goes Live


The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will launch a new hotline July 16, establishing a single number, 988, that anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can call for help.

The lifeline is a national network of more than 200 local, independent crisis centers equipped to help people who are in mental health related distress or are experiencing a suicidal crisis. Clients can access help through a call, chat or text.

The lifeline provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the U.S.

New Mail Procedure Now in Effect

Changes Aim to Keep Drugs Out of Prisons


We're working to make our mail rooms safer. As part of an ongoing effort to keep drugs and other dangerous contraband out of Missouri state prisons while reducing staff workloads and risk, the department has revised offender mail procedures.

Effective July 1, 2022, personal postal mail is no longer accepted at Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) facilities. Instead, personal mail for offenders must be sent to a mail processing center: C/O Digital Mail Center-Missouri DOC, PO Box 25678, Tampa, FL 33622-5678.

At the Digital Mail Center, mail is digitally scanned and made available on offender media players. Offenders without media player access will have their digital mail printed and delivered to them.

Correctional facilities will continue to accept the following items via postal mail:

  • Privileged/legal mail (e.g., courts, attorneys)
  • Mail from other agencies (e.g., child support)
  • Certified mail (must be pre-approved by the offender’s case manager)
  • Publications sent directly from a publisher, distributor or other approved vendor.
  • Vising applications

Review the updated mail policy on the K: drive, or visit the Friends & Family section of our website.

Training Academy Updates

New Learning Management System to Go Live


We're transforming training.

This month marks the launch of a new learning management system designed to streamline staff training and development. Called the Department of Corrections Guide to Professional Development, or DOC.GPS, the system serves as an innovative, automated tool for managing in-seat and online training.

Staff can access a monitoring dashboard, view their own training records, and receive notifications when training has been completed or is overdue. Through DOC.GPS, staff also can track their own progress, browse elective offerings, complete surveys, print certificates and connect directly with MO Learning.

A course catalog, learning paths and announcements tailored to each staff member's training needs help guide learners toward career success.

Stay tuned for detailed instructions on accessing and using DOC.GPS.

Training Director's Coin of Excellence


Meet the newest recipients of Director of Staff Training & Development Coin of Excellence, who rose to the top of Class 13 and Class 14 at each of the department's three training centers. The new 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.

Congratulations to Ward Bowen from Ozark Correctional Center (OCC), Jessica Wright from South Central Correctional Center (SCCC), Anna Wright from Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (WRDCC), Whitney Crowder from Tipton Correctional Center (TCC), Sammy Moon from Southeast Correctional Center (SECC) and Jennifer Johnson from Probation & Parole District 4W.

Adjunct Instructors Wanted

If you enjoy talking to teammates and imparting knowledge and skills, consider becoming a Training Academy adjunct instructor. Opportunities are available for you to help teach fellow staff about topics ranging from first aid and CPR to case planning and risk assessment. Contact your institutional training officer or regional training center for the next available Trainers Skills Development course.

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.

Ambassador Spotlight

Corrections Way ambassadors serve a vital role in supporting The Corrections Way (TCW), 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. They keep TCW at the forefront at sites across the state. They facilitate TCW workshops, conduct leadership walks, create TCW bulletin boards, assist with planning for quality conversations, de-escalate staff tensions, send motivational emails, create TCW newsletters, and assist with planning fun activities that build morale. They are a dedicated group of people who want to create a working environment where everyone belongs —  an environment built on trust, respect and rapport!  

Meet some ambassadors:

WERDCC Ambassadors


The Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (WERDCC) Corrections Way Ambassadors team finds creative ways to reinforce TCW principles. The group has completed two animated video projects, enlisting administrators and ambassadors as voice talent for the videos, which are shown on the information monitor in the lobby. The first introduced the team, and the second announced upcoming training sessions for staff.

The ambassadors team recognizes staff at WERDCC by presenting deserving recipients with “Caught in the Act” certificates when they're seen using the principles of The Corrections Way. Other events hosted by the ambassadors have included a bingo game, health fair components and a dress-down day honoring Memorial Day.

The WERDCC ambassadors team includes Chris Buie, Lance McAfee, Stephanie Day, Barbara Fitzpatrick and Melissa Baskett.

Strategic Plan


The state’s business cycle runs on a fiscal year timeframe, this year from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023 (FY2023). Each year we articulate our priorities to support better government in Missouri through our strategic plan. In fiscal year 2023, 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.


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 safer and more welcoming environment. 


  • Be attentive and focused.
  • Ask questions, and get clarification.
  • Demonstrate your understanding by summarizing and repeating back what has been said.