Staff Newsletter | March 2023

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missouri department of corrections

Employee Newsletter | March 2023

Pay Raise Passes!

Governor Signs Staff Salary Increase into Law


A large and exuberant crowd joined Governor Mike Parson at Fulton Reception & Diagnostic Center Feb. 28 for a ceremonial signing of the supplemental budget bill.

Proposed in January and signed into law in February, the bill gives all state team members an 8.7% cost-of-living pay increase and raises the shift differential to $2 per hour.

The new pay rate is effective March 1, with the salary increase evident in March 31 paychecks.

This historic raise brings the state's investment in pay increases for Missouri Department of Corrections staff since 2017 to $174,815,656.

Pay Praise

Corrections Leaders Address the Impact of the Pay Plan


During the ceremonial supplemental budget bill signing with Governor Mike Parson, Major Albin Narvaez, chief of custody at Fulton Reception & Diagnostic Center, talked to a crowd of corrections and mental health staff about what the pay raise and $2-per-hour shift differential mean to staff doing shift work.


“There was a time in my journey when I’d leave work at 7 a.m. on a weekend, and I’d clean up for my kid’s soccer game and I’d stay up all day after that just being a dad and a husband," Narvaez said. “There’s now an incentive for the sacrifices that the mothers and fathers have to endure, watching our kids grow up, showing support, trying not to show how tired we are, trying to emotionally detach from a critical incident that might have occurred while working our shifts.”

Demonstrating his commitment to state workers' families, Governor Parson invited Narvaez's daughter Olivia to the table to help with the bill signing.

Narvaez reported that he already is seeing a difference in staff morale and motivation brought about by both the cost-of-living increase and the shift differential.


New staff are joining corrections with the intention of building a career with the department, he said. More staff are taking hard-to-fill shifts, incentivized by the higher pay. Facilities also are able to break the cycle of pairing new officers with new supervisors on the same shifts, as both groups wait to gain enough seniority for day shifts. All of these changes, Narvaez said, make for better staffing levels and safer worksites.

"We are now a competitive job market," he noted.

Life of Service


Julie Kempker, the daughter and granddaughter of state employees, began her career in public service 35 years ago as a clerk in the Missouri Department of Corrections Central Office, making $1,071 per month. She now serves as the director of the Division of Probation & Parole. "It's been an amazing journey," she told the crowd outside FRDC, "with absolutely not one regret."


Kempker thanked Governor Parson for treating state workers with dignity and respect, empowering teams to improve, and motivating his cabinet to create positive work environments. The pay raise, she said, has a significant effect, helping, in many cases, to eliminate the need for secondary employment, reduce workers' debt and lighten the loads for staff and their families.

It's well-deserved, she said.

"You could not make us more proud, each and every one of you," she told the corrections teams. "You are each part of the DOC family, and you each contribute to the success of this agency. We are a family. And we have a hard job to do. Recognize the value you bring. And please know how much you are appreciated.”

Watch the bill-signing ceremony »

See more event photos »

Paycheck Impact

Here are a few examples of how the new pay increase changes corrections salaries:

  • Correctional Officer (COI) starting salary is $41,306. With 10 years of service, a COI earns $43,371. If that officer works first or third shift, the annual pay is $47,531.
  • Office Support Assistant (OSA) starting salary is $33,914. With 10 years of service, an OSA earns $35,610.
  • Probation and Parole Officer (PPO) starting salary is $45,382. With 10 years of service, a PPO earns $47,651.
  • Case Manager (CCM) earns a starting salary of $45,382. With 10 years of service, a case manager earns $47,651.

January 2023 Employee of the Month


Jolene Miller, a probation and parole officer at District 2, has been named employee of the month for January 2023.

Miller is known for being generous with her time. When a staff vacancy created a work overload, Miller stepped in to supervise more clients, doubling her caseload. When three officers were out of the office for training and time off, Miller covered their court appearances, traveling to multiple counties and appearing in court daily. When the division faced a pandemic-related backlog of sentencing assessment report assignments, she took on extra SAR work. When newly released clients needed transit help, she transported one to a community release center 40 miles away and another, who had medical issues, to a family member more than 60 miles away.

Miller’s spirit of giving extends to the larger community as well. She spearheaded a domestic violence awareness project and a donation drive for the Green Hills Women’s Shelter. She coordinated an adopt-a-child project to help provide holiday gifts for area kids. She also has been working on a community service project that gives probation and parole clients and other community members easier access to donated food and hygiene items.

February 2023 Employee of the Month


Carl Lewis, a central region staff development trainer, has been named employee of the month for February 2023.

Lewis embodies the values he teaches. As a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trainer, Lewis helps equip corrections staff with the tools they need to identify a mental health crisis, assess difficult situations, and intervene to de-escalate tensions and ensure better outcomes for everyone involved.

While he was leading a course, one of the students, overwhelmed by the emotions that surfaced during training, left the room and exited the facility. Instead of continuing with the training, Lewis followed the trainee to the parking lot and talked him through the experience, demonstrating the values of trust, respect and rapport that form the backbone of the Department of Corrections. The student was able to process his emotions, complete the training and earn a CIT certificate.

Freezin' for a Reason

Corrections Teams Chill Out for Special Olympics


Polar Plunge season is underway!

To help raise funds for and awareness about Special Olympics Missouri, corrections staff throughout the state are forming teams and dipping in very cold bodies of water. This year, thanks to a disco theme, they're doing it in style.

At the Chillicothe plunge Feb. 11, staff on team CCC raised $4,530, earning top-team honors for the event. Staff from Moberly and other nearby worksites took part in the Kirksville plunge Feb. 25, raising $2,523.

Also on Feb. 25, staff from Algoa, Boonville and Tipton correctional centers, as part of the team Davis's Dawgs, took part in the Osage Beach plunge. Three team members completed the Super Plunge, which entailed jumping into the lake once every hour for 24 hours. Through multiple events, the team raised $30,289. Algoa led the way with 25 members raising $26,582. Tipton's nine members raised $2,144, and Boonville's three participants raised $1,563.


Contributing to Algoa's success was Case Manager Adam Koestner, one of seven Missourians taking part in all three Super Plunges held in the state, making a total of 72 plunges into icy waters this year. He also took part in the Cop on Top event, in which he joined a Jefferson City Police Department officer and a Cole County Sheriff's Department deputy on top of the Jefferson City Marriott, lowering a bucket from the roof to collect donations. The event raised $4,174.

The funds raised help support sports programs for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.

To learn about upcoming events or make a donation, visit

Show MO Love

MO Appreciation Seeks to Recognize and Reward State Employees


State agencies are working together to find more ways to let staff know they’re valued and appreciated. While the new pay raise goes a long way toward underscoring staff value, state leaders want to make sure our teams are acknowledged beyond the paycheck. Formal and informal rewards and recognition are vital to increasing job satisfaction, engagement and retention.


The MO Appreciation initiative brings together representatives from all departments to brainstorm ways to build a culture of recognition. Boonville Correctional Center Captain Colton Moots, the Missouri Department of Corrections MO Appreciation ambassador, is working with fellow ambassadors to make our team members feel seen, heard and valued; improve morale and instill a rich culture of acceptance, satisfaction and engagement; and ensure that the state of Missouri is a competitive and desirable employer.

Visit the MO Appreciation website at to learn more and access resources.

Discount Hub

State of Missouri Team Members Get Deals on Products & Services


Working in state government has its perks.

Through the Missouri state employees' discount hub, staff members can get bargains on everything from home appliances and groceries to concerts and vacations.

Visit the site at to get started.

Sign up to receive alerts when new deal become available.

Tech Talk

Pushing Progress in a Change-Resistant Field


Division of Probation & Parole Deputy Director John Mosley discusses the advantages of incorporating technological innovations in the field of corrections.

Read his article, "Embracing Technology in Corrections," in the publication Government CIO Outlook, a technology magazine focused on the trends, challenges and opportunities to deliver efficient, technology-driven services and operations to support smart governance.

Stopping the Cycle of Silence

The Transformative Power of Post Critical Incident Seminars


What are Post Critical Incident Seminars all about? Trauma Specialist Meckenzie Hayes explains the program's origins and outcomes, while Security Intelligence Unit Manager Stephanie Tandarich discusses her personal experiences, describing how PCIS has helped her process past critical incidents, better understand her value, and improve her personal relationships.

Watch the video »

Two Seminars Planned for 2023

PCIS - MAY 2023

Join fellow corrections team members for an opportunity to learn about the effects of trauma and explore methods of resolution, recovery and resilience building through a Post-Critical Incident Seminar (PCIS).

PCIS is a three-day intensively focused therapeutic event designed to assist corrections personnel who have experienced traumatic stress following involvement in a serious incident. Trauma exposure can change the way we look at the world and may make it difficult to return to our normal level of daily functioning.

This event brings corrections personnel with similar experiences together to begin or further the recovery process, turning trauma into strength. Behavioral health service providers from outside the department, as well as specially trained peers familiar with corrections culture, facilitate support.

There is no cost to participate. Attendance is limited. Applicants will be screened to determine eligibility.

Participants in past PCIS events rated the seminars 9.4 on a 10-point scale and credited the experience with changing, or even saving, their lives.

Apply now »



  • May 16-18, 2023
  • Oct. 24-26, 2023


Contact Meckenzie Hayes

Help for Veterans

Veterans Administration Now Pays for all Emergency Mental Health Care

Effective Jan. 17, all U.S. military veterans can access emergency mental health care free of charge at any Veterans Affairs medical facility or outside clinic, regardless of whether they are already enrolled in department health care services. The new policy applies to all veterans with any separation status except a dishonorable discharge, regardless of whether they qualify for other VA medical services.

Since 2019, all VA medical facilities have been required to provide veterans with same-day access to emergency mental health care. Under the new policy, the VA will either waive costs for care or, in cases of visits outside the VA system, provide reimbursements for emergency mental health care. Those costs can include appointment fees, transportation costs and other related follow-up expenses.

The new plan also calls for VA to cover the costs of up to 30 days of inpatient or residential care for treatment of those mental health issues and up to 90 days of outpatient care if veterans are experiencing an acute suicidal crisis.

Joyful Journaling

New Wellness Challenge Celebrates Writing for Stress Management


Join MODOC Wellness for the Write On spiritual wellness challenge through March 15, and share how keeping a journal has helped to boost your mind-and-body connection.

A consistent journaling practice can help you move thoughts onto paper to process them more clearly. Throughout 2022, 10,000 journals were distributed among corrections staff statewide, and many employees have reported a positive change as a result of keeping a journal as a stress management tool. Now we're asking you to share your experiences to celebrate journaling and encourage teammates to try it.

Before March 15, visit this site to answer the question "How has journaling helped you?". You can also email your response to:

In late March, 20 random participants will be selected to receive MODOC Wellness pens. Responses will also be shared to help raise awareness about this healthy and helpful habit.

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.

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

Download the ZERO Suicide flyer »

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!

Missouri Eastern Correctional Center Corrections Way Ambassadors


The Missouri Eastern Correctional Center ambassador team has been busy. At the top of their list is planning for an April 27 Facility Appreciation Day, which will include a dunk tank, mini golf, corn hole, softball, a smash car game and more. Fresh food will be grilled for staff throughout the day.

Other MECC ambassador undertakings:

  • Facility Appreciation Day T-shirts
  • Meetings with every new hire class since December of 2022 for team relationship-building and career-planning success
  • New-hire graduation ceremonies
  • Workshops and skill-up sessions
  • Participating in other sites' workshops
  • Town Hall meetings
  • Membership on other committees, including the wellness committee and the personnel club
  • Making MECC a great place to work

Meet Emily Haslag, Institutional Training Officer


Emily Haslag is the longest-standing member of the MECC Ambassadors team. 

Finding herself at a crossroads in her own career, Haslag took the opportunity to invest in her job and her team by becoming a Corrections Way ambassador. Since then, she has been promoted from personnel clerk to institutional training officer and has been active on the personnel club and the Corrections Way Ambassadors team.

Haslag consistently recognizes team members for their value and quality. As an ITO, she models the pillars of The Corrections Way and prepares new hires for success by facilitating value premise and quality conversations.

Training Academy Updates

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 10 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 April Bash from Moberly Correctional Center, Larry Madison from Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center, and Kaitlyn Case from Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center.

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.

Correctional Peace Officers Foundation News

Join the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation (CPOF)

The Correctional Peace Officers Foundation (CPOF) is a national nonprofit charitable organization created in 1984. Its primary function is to preserve and support the surviving families of corrections professionals who lose their lives in the line of duty.

CPOF membership is open to professionals who work in prisons, institutions, jails and parole/probation systems. For members' convenience, payment of dues can be set up through a bank draft or payroll deduction. Learn about membership benefits, and apply to join CPOF.

PROJECT 2000 XXXIV Comes to St. Louis


The Correctional Peace Officers Foundation (CPOF) Project 2000 will be held in St. Louis this summer, with events taking place June 15-18. The national memorial service honoring correctional staff who lost their lives in the line of duty will be held Friday, June 16.

Since 1990, CPOF has hosted the annual four-day gathering which memorializes those in the corrections profession who lost their lives in the line of duty during the preceding year. Surviving family members are honored guests at the gathering, which features an honor guard, seminars, and support group sessions as well as hosted meals.

Space is limited to 500 participants. Register to attend »

Scholarship Opportunity Opens for Corrections Staff and Families


Applications are open now for the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation (CPOF) scholarship. Scholarships are available for CPOF members and their spouses, children, stepchildren and grandchildren.

Eligible applicants have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, U.S. citizenship or legal residency, and financial need. Candidates must be enrolled full time in a two-year or four-year college. Scholarships are awarded based on merit and eligibility. The application period runs through April 14, 2023. To learn more or submit an application, visit.


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

R-E-S-P-E-C-T in M-O-D-O-C


We're working hard to recruit and retain staff and to make  our department a great place to work. Demonstrating respect for coworkers builds a positive work environment. 


Encourage coworkers to share ideas, and then listen.

Don't engage in insults or name-calling.

Be mindful and accepting of cultural differences.