Staff Newsletter | November 2022

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missouri department of corrections

Employee Newsletter | November 2022

Cultural Transformation

Missouri Department of Corrections Featured in International Criminal Justice Publication

Justice Trends

Your great work is gaining international attention! The Missouri Department of Corrections is highlighted in the cover story for the latest issue of the renowned global publication Justice Trends. In it, Director Precythe describes how our team has embraced cultural change, committed to staff development and safety, and worked to ensure better outcomes for Missourians in the criminal justice system — accomplishments that position Missouri's DOC as an international model. Read the story »

See Something, Say Something


As opioid overdoses skyrocket in communities throughout Missouri, the Department of Corrections has to be even more diligent in our efforts to keep illegal drugs out of our facilities.  

Illegal contraband can be deadly. The mere presence of a highly potent drug like fentanyl poses a serious risk to staff, who can unknowingly absorb the toxic substance through skin contact, inhalation, ingestion or contact with a mucous membrane.

Protecting staff, as well as offenders, from dangerous contraband is a complex undertaking, and it’s a team effort.

In July, we tackled one major contraband pipeline by diverting offender postal mail to a mail processing center, where it is scanned and delivered to recipients electronically. We’re addressing addiction and the demand for drugs by expanding Medication Assisted Treatment (M.A.T.) and streamlining behavioral health services. We’re also expanding and revising naloxone (Narcan) access and procedures to help reverse overdoses and prevent deaths. 

Still, drugs are getting into facilities, offenders are overdosing, and staff are at risk for exposure. We need your help. 


As options for contraband distribution decrease, offenders can become more aggressive in their efforts to recruit staff into the drug trade. Inexperience, financial hardship, personal crises and other factors can make some staff especially vulnerable to manipulation. You can look out out for these teammates and help steer them down a better path. And if an offender approaches you about bringing contraband in, please report the behavior to your supervisor or other trusted staff member.

Staff who bring or attempt to bring contraband into MODOC facilities not only lose their jobs but also face arrest, prosecution and incarceration. Our investigators work with law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to apprehend and convict anyone who brings drugs in and places people at risk.

Protect your facility and your team. If you see something suspicious, report it to your supervisor, or call the anonymous C.L.E.A.R. line at 573-526-7000.

Joining Forces

Corrections Staff Meet with Partners at Annual Reentry Conference

The annual Missouri Reentry Conference returned to an in-person event at the Lake of the Ozarks, and our colleagues throughout the state were ready to reconnect. More than 450 people attended — a near-record turnout.

Missouri Department of Corrections presenters showcased the innovative work our teams are doing throughout the state. Employee Wellness Coordinator Caitlin Rudolph teamed up with ARCHS Vice President of Human Resources Brandi Smith to discuss what our organizations do to address the effects of occupational stress and trauma on corrections and reentry professionals. Division of Adult Institutions Quality Control Unit team members Faith Graeff, Kathy Bidding and Kelly Peterie-Kissick gave a presentation on how their team can serve as a resource and support for DOC staff, helping our colleagues feel more fulfilled in their roles and better equipped to deliver excellent service.

Some other highlights:

Reimagining Corrections


To kick off a packed day of conference sessions, Missouri Department of Corrections division directors teamed up as a panel. Directors Julie Kempker (Probation & Parole), Valarie Moseley (Offender Rehabilitative Services), Susan Pulliam (Human Services) and Travis Terry (Adult Institutions) emphasized that, five years into our strategic plan, we're doing business differently through the power of collaboration — within the department, among state agencies, and with community partners.

Building a Restorative Reentry Community


Transition Center of Kansas City (TCKC) Superintendent Michelle Tippie teamed up with the Center for Conflict Resolution restorative practices specialists who helped develop TCKC's programming and presented their process for building a successful reentry community. Based on European prison management models, TCKC emphasizes human dignity, normalization, reintegration and dynamic security as residents complete four stages of programming: orientation, discovery, journey and transition. Using town hall meetings and other tools, residents hold one another accountable for their behaviors and work together to resolve conflicts. Along with help in traditional areas such as housing and employment, community partners lead practices such as mindfulness, meditation and yoga. Since TCKC opened in April, three men have graduated and returned to the Kansas City community.

Education & Reentry


Education Zone Manager Stephanie Thomas and Reentry Coordinator Leslie Kelley highlighted the strong correlation between offender education level and recidivism; the more educated offenders are, the less likely they are to be reincarcerated. Our department continues to expand education offerings. In fiscal year 2022, the department had an average of 2,445 students enrolled in academic programs each month, with a high school equivalency pass rate of 99.8%. About 250 students were enrolled in career and tech education programs each month, earning 603 professional certificates by the end of the year. In addition, more than 700 students enrolled in higher education courses each semester.

Honor Programs


Algoa Correctional Center Functional Unit Manager April Vanover described how the creation of an honor dorm at ACC has improved safety, morale, staffing, restorative justice and family connections. In just over seven months, the 62-resident honor dorm has transformed the facility. Within the unit, residents emphasize peace, respect, prosocial behaviors and holding one another accountable.

Residents have logged an average of 145.6 Restorative Justice hours each, compared to an average of 10.6 hours each for general-population offenders. No informal resolution requests or grievances have been filed in the unit, and no emergencies requiring staff response have occurred. Only seven conduct violations have been issued to residents during that time, and most were for incidents reported by fellow residents.

Benefits of the honor dorm, such as family restoration visits held in the recreation yard, incentivize other offenders to seek honors eligibility, thereby improving offender behavior prison-wide. Conduct violations are down by more than 1,000 from this time last year. 

State Tech Partnership


Director of Staff Training and Development Lori Lewis Kennedy teamed up with Nancy Wiley from State Technical College of Missouri to present a staff training innovation. After working with offenders on developing vocational skills and earning apprenticeships, State Tech was awarded a grant that funds training and certifications for corrections staff employed in maintenance and related jobs. Since its inception, nearly 700 staff members have been trained through the program. The grant has been extended through fiscal year 2024.

Award for Excellence


During the conference, Probation & Parole District 13 A Unit Supervisor Patricia Allchin was honored with the 2022 Reentry Champion of the Year award for great work in supporting the success of Missourians on probation and parole.

Conference host Area Resources for Community and Human Services, or ARCHS, was recognized with the community partner award.

October 2022 Employee of the Month


Debbie Black, Executive I at Western Region Training Center, has been named employee of the month for October 2022.

Black goes out of her way to fill in the gaps and make transitions smoother. Last year the Staff Training and Development team faced a perfect storm of challenges. Staff recruitment was moved under the umbrella of the Training Academy, a key staff member retired, and office managers at the state’s other training centers were out after taking long-term leave or resigning from the department.

Black stepped up to perform extra duties. She took on purchasing responsibilities and budgeting oversight for the eastern region, traveled to Jefferson City to train new staff, and kept the offices running like clockwork. Her initiative, dedication to safety and willingness to accommodate the needs of not only her own team but also other regions’ teams serve as an example to all corrections staff.

Innovation Recognition

PRIN Manager Earns National Award


Dana Plunkett-Cafourek, the department's Prison Research & Innovation Network (PRIN) manager, has been named winner of the 2022 Edward J. Latessa Practitioner Award from the American Society of Criminology.

The award recognizes excellent social science research conducted in government agencies to help develop better policy or operate more effectively. With a pilot at Moberly Correctional Center, the department works with University of Missouri System researchers to identify innovations that improve conditions for people living and working in Missouri prisons.

Streamlining Services

Gateway Expands Substance Use Treatment to All Sites


The department is streamlining delivery of substance use recovery services for offenders. Gateway Foundation, a long-time contracted substance use treatment and assessment provider, has expanded services to all Missouri Department of Corrections facilities, effective Oct. 14, 2022. In addition to continuing to manage programming at previously contracted sites, Gateway now oversees substance use recovery services at programs previously operated by the Division of Offender Rehabilitative Services (DORS), including Farmington Correctional Center, Fulton Reception & Diagnostic Center, Maryville Treatment Center and Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center.

Under the new contract, current department employees in behavioral health can choose to either continue employment with the state — keeping current salaries, benefits and positions — or work directly for Gateway and earn competitive salaries and sign-on bonuses. No staff will lose their positions or salaries, and no programs will be closed.

DORS will continue to oversee all health care operations through contract monitoring staff. Benefits of this transition include consistency in programming and use of evidence-based practices; expanded employment options for staff; and more efficient management of operations and resources.

Welcoming Families

Crossroads Correctional Center Hosts Family Day


With the move of operations from Western Missouri Correctional Center to Crossroads Correctional Center underway, CRCC recently held a family day to showcase the facility.

More than 300 staff members and their families toured CRCC, taking walkthroughs of housing units, food service, recreation, visiting, and library and education facilities, as well as the guard tower — a favorite among younger visitors.

Staff from Chillicothe Correctional Center and Maryville Treatment Center volunteered to work overtime shifts so that WMCC/CRCC staff could enjoy the time with their families.


Corrections Gets Creative for Charitable Campaign

During the Missouri State Employee Charitable Campaign (MSECC), staff have signed up for payroll deductions to support charitable organizations, and personnel clubs at worksites throughout the state have found creative ways to raise funds.


These efforts are paying off for the charities we support. Corrections ranks first among state agencies and offices for total amount pledged through paper and online forms and ranks in the top five for the amount raised through fundraising events, such as chili cookoffs, dress-down days, pizza parties, bake sales, silent auctions and the costume-filled competitive Halloween challenge held at Central Office (left).

Central Office fundraisers benefited Healing House and New Beginnings, a faith-based substance use disorder recovery center; Little Explorers Discovery School, a nonprofit child care agency serving low-income families; and The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, which each month provides food to 100,000 Missourians across 32 counties.


As part of Maryville Treatment Center’s Charitable Campaign activities, campaign co-chairs Brenda Fletchall and Tara Murphy held a silent auction benefiting Voices of Courage, a nationally accredited child advocacy center that serves children and families affected by abuse or trauma in nine counties in Northwest Missouri. During the event, MTC staff raised $1,323 for the charity, and Murphy presented a check to Executive Director Melissa Birdsell this month.

While corrections is leading the way in many areas of MSECC, we're still short of our 20% participation goal. You can help us reach it by pledging what you can afford. Every donation adds up and makes a big difference for a charitable organization. To participate, visit Browse charities by category, keyword or geographic region. Follow the instructions for completing a pledge card online or on paper.

Health, Safety & Wellbeing

Flu Season Preparation

Flu Banner

Flu season is underway, and 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.

Need inspiration? Watch Director Anne Precythe get a flu shot from Employee Health Nurse Amy Kitchens.

To get a flu shot, check in with your employee health nurse, or find a vaccine site near you.

Suicide Prevention


The Missouri Department of Corrections continues to prioritize the mental health and wellbeing of our staff and to improve the support we provide to team members in need. That is why the department is adopting the ZERO Suicide framework, a comprehensive approach to suicide care developed by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

As we work to roll out the framework, please use currently available resources if you are in crisis or want to help someone who is.

Access Crisis Intervention (ACI) Lines

If someone calls the 988 national hotline number, the call is routed to a local hotline number, or ACI line, based on area code. When a crisis occurs, you can call 988 or call the local line. Missouri local hotline numbers are listed at

Behavioral Health Crisis Centers

Behavioral health crisis centers (BHCCs) provide an alternative to emergency rooms for people in crisis who are experiencing behavioral health symptoms. In this trauma-informed space, clients can receive services from a multi-disciplinary team specializing in mental health and substance-use-related crisis and also link to community resources, including outpatient treatment, to ensure the continued safety and stability for the person in crisis. BHCCs are located in most regions of the state. Find contact and service information at

Community Mental Health Centers

Every county in Missouri also has a designated community mental health center (CMHC). If you or a loved one struggles with substance use or mental health, you can contact a community mental health center for assistance. Services are provided by a team using resources available to the client, the client's family and the community. Outpatient programs offer individual, group and family therapy as well as medication management and other services. The cost of services is based on the individual's ability to pay. Find a center near you at

If you have questions, please contact Meckenzie Hayes at or 573-526-3021.

Download the ZERO Suicide flyer »

Trauma Treatment

The second Post Critical Incident Seminar (PCIS) for staff took place Nov. 2-4 in Columbia.


PCIS is a three-day intensely therapeutic seminar for first responders who have experienced critical incidents and trauma in the course of their time on the job. PCIS presents an opportunity for participants to share their experiences with like-minded people and to offer and receive valuable support in a way that facilitates normalization and recovery.

Attendees have access to mental health professionals who understand first-responder culture and the unique challenges of the profession.The event provides education on trauma, effective patterns of resolution, and proven treatment strategies that promote recovery and resilience.  

Participants in the first PCIS, held in May 2022, rated the event 9.4 on a 10-point scale and credited the experience with changing, or even saving, their lives.

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!

Antonio Crothers

Correctional Officer I, Transition Center of St. Louis


I began my career as a Corrections Officer I with the Missouri Department of Corrections seven-and-a-half years ago. Throughout these years, I have worked on several committees, including Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), Field Training Officer (FTO) and The Corrections Way (TCW), and I have served as an adjunct trainer for various facilities throughout the Eastern Region.

I wanted to become an ambassador because I am a firm believer in the messages being shared with staff and the direction TCW is leading staff in throughout the department. As an ambassador, I enjoy boosting staff morale, which helps to create a positive work environment. I also like the staff communication shirts. I am a huge promoter of CIT, and I am very much an EXPRESSIVE. I figured that being an ambassador and spreading the TCW vision go hand in hand.

Since becoming an ambassador, I have also been entrusted with the lead ambassador role for the Transition Center of St. Louis (TCSTL), and I’m looking forward to bringing TCW to light and promoting our vision. In the near future, I will be planning events that involve staff interaction and learning about TCW and why it is so important. Additionally, I look forward to visiting other facilities to share our great ideas and bring back colleagues' great ideas to share with our staff.

Now, you have four minutes and 45 seconds to tell three coworkers you are happy to see them at work and to have a great day. Let's spread the word of TCW and keep The Corrections Way moving forward in a positive way.

Programming a Better Future

Celebrity Chef Visit


“Yesterday I would have told you rehabilitation in prison doesn’t exist,” Chef Keith Corbin told residents of the Transition Center of Kansas City (TCKC) last month. “But that was before I walked in here.” He urged the book-talk audience, Kansas City men on probation and parole, to make the most of the opportunity. “You all need to take advantage of this,” the formerly incarcerated Los Angeles restaurateur said. “This program is exceptional.

"You can’t do this on your own.”


A Watts, Calif., native, Corbin was born into a life of drugs and gangs, culminating in a decade of incarceration in the California prison system. Eight years after his release, the celebrated chef owns Alta West Adams, ranked one of the top 17 restaurants in the United States, and is the author of a newly released memoir, California Soul: An American Epic of Cooking and Survival. His story resonated with the audience.

At TCKC, instead of going home to old habits after release from prison or supervision, clients work with reentry professionals on building a new mindset and the foundation for a better life. The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Workforce Opportunities for Returning Citizens (WORC) initiative brought the chef to Kansas City to meet with people involved in the criminal justice system. The chamber provided signed copies of Corbin’s book for TCKC residents and the facility’s library.

Five Years of Veterans Programming


The Missouri Veterans Program (MVP) is now five years old. To mark the milestone, Moberly Correctional Center (MCC) hosted a ceremony featuring guest speakers Deputy Warden Rusty Ratliff, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and program cofounder, and Factory Manager Craig Wheeler, an Army veteran who helps run veterans' post-traumatic stress disorder treatment groups.


In 2017, MCC became the pilot site for Missouri Veteran's Program, which has since been successfully extended to multiple institutions. The program aims to reduce recidivism in the veteran community by restoring honor and means to succeed, providing veteran-specific resources and a therapeutic environment.

MCC's multigenerational group of more than 60 incarcerated U.S. military veterans has established a platoon system, transforming a prison wing into a housing unit that feels like a barracks. Members observe traditional military rituals, such as raising and lowering a U.S. flag daily. The program also includes an honor guard, an elite group that dedicates extra time to perfecting the chain of command and leading by example.

Support for Military Spouses


In honor of Veterans Day, offender-volunteers in the Restorative Justice program at Boonville Correctional Center crafted 53 charcuterie boards for the Whiteman Air Force Base Spouses Local Love event in early November.

Spouses of military service members learned how to use the boards for serving appetizers during the holidays.

Veterans Unit Gift


Cole County Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher recently donated a new cornhole game set to the Algoa Correctional Center Veterans Housing Unit. Artwork on the boards recognizes the service and sacrifices of military veterans.

Games and other activities held for Veterans Unit residents help to build morale and camaraderie among incarcerated Missourians who have served in the United States military.

Resource Fairs


Missouri state government agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, employers and other community partners have come together at recent resource fairs at Boonville Correctional Center and Ozark Correctional Center to help prepare offenders for post-incarceration success.

At OCC, approximately 250 residents met with representatives from 18 resource providers who can help with housing, employment, driver’s licensing, family reunification, child support, education, substance use treatment and more.

Higher Education


Thanks to support from Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center staff, five incarcerated students at ERDCC have completed degree programs through Ashland University's Correctional Education Program, earning four associate's degrees and one bachelor's degree.


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

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.