Staff Newsletter | April 2023

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missouri department of corrections

Employee Newsletter | April 2023

Next-Level Reentry

Missouri Joins National Initative


Second Chance Month

Governor Mike Parson has signed a proclamation declaring that April 2023 is Second Chance Month in Missouri. Every April, the U.S. Department of Justice recognizes the important role organizations like the Missouri Department of Corrections and our community partners play in supporting safe and successful reentry after incarceration. More than 95% of people who enter Missouri prisons eventually return to the community. More than 13,000 people are released from MODOC facilities each year. The work we do helps make them good neighbors.

Reentry 2030

April 2023 marks Missouri's commitment to Reentry 2030, a national initiative that aims to dramatically improve reentry success for people exiting prison and those on probation and parole. As a recognized national leader in reentry innovations, the Missouri Department of Corrections is partnering with fellow state agencies as well as national organizations, regional reentry partners and business leaders to meet our reentry goal:

  • We aim to EXPAND collaborations and partnerships with public and private entities, to CONNECT incarcerated Missourians to employment, and to PREPARE them to maintain their employment.

A Reentry 2030 launch event, scheduled for 10 a.m. at Millbottom in Jefferson City, includes Governor Parson, state and federal agencies, and statewide reentry partners.

Honoring Victims

Ceremonies Planned for Crime Victims' Rights Week


Missouri is joining the U.S. Department of Justice in commemorating National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) April 23–29, 2023. 

This year’s NCVRW theme — Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage. Effect Change. — calls upon communities to amplify the voices of survivors and create environments where survivors have confidence that they will be heard, believed and supported. Since 1981, NCVRW has challenged the nation to remove barriers to achieving justice for all victims of crime. Each year, communities across the country revisit the history of the victims’ rights movement, celebrate the progress made, and recommit to further advancements in the crime victims field.

The Missouri Department of Corrections Office of Victim Services works to provide timely and accurate information, as well as advocacy and referral services, to crime victims, victims’ family members and crime witnesses. The office coordinates notification services and victim accessibility to departmental proceedings in accordance with state statute. The Missouri Department of Public Safety Office for Victims of Crime administers grant programs and services to serve and protect Missouri crime victims, at-risk youth and their families. Both state agencies collaborate with law enforcement, courts and nonprofits to serve Missouri crime victims.

Governor Mike Parson has proclaimed April 23-29 Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Missouri. Events will be held in the capital and throughout the state.

Jefferson City Events

April 25-27: 2023 Missouri Victim Services Academy, Truman Building 

April 25: Office of Victim Services National Crime Victims Rights Week Candlelight Vigil, 6 p.m., Cole County Sheriff's Office

April 27: 2023 Missouri Crime Victims Rights Week Observance & Ceremony, noon, Capitol Lawn

Pay Raise

Corrections Impact

For Missouri state government employees, the March 31 paycheck marked a milestone in support for staff. It's part of a supplemental spending bill passed into law last month, giving all state team members an 8.7% cost-of-living pay increase and raises the shift differential to $2 per hour.

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

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.

March 2023 Employees of the Month


Transition Center of St. Louis team members Michelle Boyd, safety manager, and Jeffrey Hawthorn, maintenance supervisor, have been named employees of the month for March 2023.

Boyd and Hawthorn embody the department's mission of improving lives for safer communities.

After leaving TCSTL, a former resident reached out to the two coworkers to let them know they had, in fact, changed his life. In a letter, the client wrote that, while he was at TCSTL, both Boyd and Hawthorn consistently demonstrated respect for the residents, treated them with dignity and spoke to them with unwavering honesty. As a result, the client was inspired to change both his outlook and his behavior, leading to reentry success.

Boyd and Hawthorn are role models not only for the clients they help but also for fellow corrections staff.

Support for Schools

Facilities Donate to Local Secondary Education Programs


To support education while positioning the Missouri Department of Corrections as an important regional employer, the department has been making donations to local secondary schools and programs. Each adult institution was allocated $500 for local outreach.

Some gave to specific programs. Moberly Correctional Center presented a $500 donation to the Macon Area Career and Technical Education Center’s Criminal Justice Program, funding the purchase of training equipment for students exploring careers in corrections, policing, forensics and related fields. Jefferson City Correctional Center opted to support the Jefferson City High School Step Team, Crimson Cru, part of a long-standing African American tradition. Fulton Reception & Diagnostic Center donated to Fulton High School’s alternative classroom and e-sports programs. Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center presented Central High School with a check to help fund the Positive Behavior Intervention Support program, which aims to motivate students who are struggling and help them better meet basic expectations. Farmington Correctional Center gave to Farmington High School's Knights in Action organization.

Others made general donations for schools to use at their discretion. Algoa Correctional Center gave to Blair Oaks High School, Boonville Correctional Center to Boonville High School, Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center to North County High School, Missouri Eastern Correctional Center to Pacific High School, Northeast Correctional Center to Bowling Green High School, Ozark Correctional Center to Marshfield High School, Potosi Correctional Center to Potosi High School, Southeast Correctional Center to Sikeston High School, South Central Correctional Center to Licking High School, Tipton Correctional Center to Versailles High School, and Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center to Van-Far Junior/Senior High School.

Building Community Connections

Transition Center Earns Industry Award

The Transition Center of Kansas City has been named a winner of the 2023 Brick-by-Brick Award from the Kansas City Industrial Council (KCIC).


KCIC, an organization that promotes and advocates on behalf of Kansas City’s industrial community, annually recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations contributing to the growth and development of Kansas City industry.

One year ago, in April 2022, the first clients moved into TCKC, a former minimum-security prison in Kansas City’s West Bottoms that was transformed into a residential probation and parole center for men returning to the greater Kansas City area after incarceration. Instead of going home to old habits, clients work with reentry professionals on building a new mindset and the foundation for a better life.

For the past year, TCKC has built ties with area businesses and organizations, contributing to the West Bottoms community and readying residents to become reliable members of the local workforce.


Under the Division of Probation & Parole, TCKC was fully renovated. It’s equipped with housing for 150 clients and workspace for 106 staff, as well as classrooms, computer labs, a professional-attire lending closet, programming space and other features that promote a therapeutic environment.


The center follows a four-phase programming model: intake and orientation, programming, pre-release planning, and discharge planning. Clients remain in the facility for at least 60 days, with supervised transportation provided for job interviews and other approved outings. They work on behavioral health, housing, education, vocational training, family reunification, employment, home economics and basic life skills. Programming follows evidence-based practices shown to be effective at reducing risk and recidivism. All residents are employed before they leave.

KCIC will present TCKC with the Brick by Brick Award at a reception April 20.

Puppies for Parole Honored

K9s on the Frontline Recognizes P4P's Contributions to Veterans


A Puppies for Parole graduate is making his mark in the service-dog world.

Recently K9s on the Frontline Missouri recognized the Puppies for Parole program and Boonville Correctional Center P4P graduate Max at the Show Me Honor Awards Dinner, where Central Office Quality Control Manager Jennifer Liebi and Algoa Correctional Center Functional Unit Manager Jacob Johnson represented the department.


After completing his training at BCC, Max went on to the University of Missouri Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction (ReCHAI) Uniting Veterans with Service Dogs program, where he was trained by four University of Missouri ROTC cadets to work as a service dog for people who have physical disabilities and post-traumatic stress.

In May 2019, Max was paired with retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. John Hopson. Hopson served in the Army for 22 years, including overseas deployments as part of Operation of Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, in Bosnia, Operation Iraqi Freedom One and Operation Iraqi Freedom Two. After retiring, Hopson became a readjustment counseling therapist for combat veterans at the Vet Center in Columbia.

It was a perfect match.

At the awards dinner, Hopson talked about how thankful he was for Puppies for Parole and for Max. Other guests shared stories of Puppies for Parole successes.

Operational Excellence Spring Summit

Weekly Webinar Series Runs Through May


Join the Missouri Department of Corrections Research, Planning & Process Improvement team throughout May 2023 for the Missouri Department of Corrections 2023 Spring Operational Excellence Summit. Tune in to WebEx sessions to learn about the tools and skills used to make informed decisions, set goals, manage projects and implement improvements that make the department better.

May 3: Summit Kick-Off  |  MODOC Strategic Plan, 2023  |  MODOC OpEx Summit Preview

May 8: "Data in a Flash"  |  "Sticking to the Data"

May 15: "What's the Vision? Rapid Improvement Events"  |  "Project Management in a Snap"  |  "It's a Bird, It's a Plan, It's Strategic Initiatives"

May 24: Division Directors Round Table  |  Summit Wrapup

PCIS Updates

Applications Temporarily Closed

PCIS - MAY 2023

Thank you to all members of the Missouri Department of Corrections team who have taken the initiative to care for their mental health by applying for the Post Critical Incident Seminar, our three-day intensively focused therapeutic event for corrections staff living with traumatic stress after involvement in a critical work-related incident. The interest in our upcoming May and October 2023 seminars has been overwhelming.

Because space is limited and we have been inundated with applications, the department has temporarily closed applications, effective March 27. Organizers are reviewing applications in the order received. We will fill the May event first. Remaining applicants who have completed the screening process and meet the qualifications will be referred for the Oct. 24-26 session.

Applications are being processed as quickly and thoroughly as possible to ensure that all members of our team get the help they need and that PCIS is a good fit for all attendees. Organizers will let you know when the application period reopens.

Meanwhile, please explore other resources available to first responders who have experienced trauma, including The Battle Within, Warriors’ Ascent, Strive Employee Life & Family, the Missouri Crisis Intervention Team Council First Responder Provider Network and our own Peer Action Care Teams. If you are currently in distress, please call or text 988 to get immediate help.

If you have questions about PCIS or other resources, please contact or call 573-526-3021.

About 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.

Behind PCIS


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



  • 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


Thank you to all participants in the "Write on" spiritual wellness challenge. 

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.

Write on, the fifth state-wide employee wellness challenge, concludes the spiritual wellness awareness campaign. The goal of this challenge was to celebrate mind-and-body connection and other benefits of writing. During this challenge, 617 team members from across the state participated by answering the question "What does journaling do for you?"

Here are some of their answers:

  • Journaling allows me to focus on me and my self care in an otherwise chaotic world.
  • It has helped me feel less stressed.
  • The voice within comes out. It is the most FREEING feeling.
  • Gives me a chance to review past events, thoughts, goals and check on my progress.
  • Physically seeing, and putting on paper, helped me process and recognize what I am actually feeling beyond the surface level.
  • Journaling has helped me view issues with others and myself from a different perspective and made me think outside the box like a third party.
  • It is a way for me to see the progress I have made in different areas in my life and identify the areas I need to work on.
  • I used my journal to track my water intake to make sure I'm drinking the recommended amount.
  • Journaling has given me a new found peace.
  • Journaling has made a positive impact on my productivity. I write my scattered thoughts into the journal and then sort them out visually.
  • It helps me figure things out and get something that is bothering me out of my system. 
  • Release of mental pressure from different situations that arise any given day. Gives me a clear mind to start fresh the next day.
  • Journaling has allowed me to write out the things that I may not know how to put into verbal words or to express things that I want to say without losing my temper.

Congratulations to the Write on randomly selected winners:

Connie Saunders, Correctional Programs Specialist, FRDC; Darren Robinson, PPO, P&P D4; Robin Mills, SOSA, ERDCC; Roy Goldsmith, CO-I, JCCC; Christina Austin CO-I, SCCC; Alberto Hernandez CO-I, TCC; Theresa Wood, CO-I, WERDCC; Jennifer Byers, PPO-II, PPICU; Kimberly Akers, COOK-II, SCCC; Jason Lee, CO-I, CCC; Cameron Fast, FUM, CCC; Susan Romines, Employee Health Nurse, ERDCC; Becky Ayres, Unit Supervisor, P&P D10; Michele Buckner, Warden, SCCC; Jesse Hodgson, PPO-I, P&P D6; Brooke Simmerock, PPO-II, P&P D10N; Hannah Brauer, CO-I, FCC; Lena Allen, CO-I, MTC; Leslie Sandgren, Administrtative Support Clerk CRCC; Andrea Forbes, Unit Supervisor TCSTL

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!

Eastern Region Training Center Ambassador


Antonio Crothers joined the Eastern Region Training Center team as a staff development trainer in November 2022. He brought with him the core values of The Corrections Way as an ambassador from the Transition Center of St. Louis.

Crothers inspires his training family through his positive outlook and supportive demeanor. From the first week at ERTC, he made use of the employee spotlight board, writing positive and motivational messages to his peers and encouraging them to do the same.

Crothers is a valuable addition to our training family who will continue to spread the message of TCW.

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 11 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 Officers Demond Barrett from Northeast Correctional Center (NECC), Alloura Stevens from Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (WRDCC), Edward Bradberry from Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC). Welcome to the family!

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

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.