Staff Newsletter | August 2023

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missouri department of corrections

Employee Newsletter | August 2023

Teed Up

Golf Tournament Supports Benevolent Fund


The 22nd Annual Director's Cup golf tournament takes place Friday, Aug. 18, at Tanglewood Golf Course in Fulton. The four-person scramble benefits the Missouri 10-33 Benevolent Fund, a statewide fund for the survivors of public safety officers who have given their lives in the line of duty. Since the Missouri 10-33 Benevolent Fund's inception in 2000, 125 public safety professionals have lost their lives in service to citizens of Missouri.

Can't make it? Support the cause as a donor or hole sponsor. For details, call 573-522-5969 or email

Staffing Successes

Department's Staffing Improvements Garner Statewide, Nationwide Attention


Associated Press: Major Albin Narvaez

Missouri Department of Corrections staffing levels continue to rise.

Our recruiting team’s efforts, mobile custody units, expanded part-time job options, increases in salaries and the shift differential, improved staff morale, and countless innovations led by our teams together contribute to increased recruitment and retention and, as a result, safer, better-staffed facilities.

Since March 2023, Division of Adult Institution staffing levels have improved by 5%. Since October 2022, Correctional Officer I (COI) vacancies have decreased by 13%. And in June 2023, the department received a record number of correctional officer applications: 1,056.

Some facilities are showing significant, rapid growth. In the short period between April 25 and July 1, COI vacancy rates improved by 10% at Tipton Correctional Center (TCC) and 15% at Boonville Correctional Center (BCC), with third-shift staffing improving by 20% at TCC and 53% at BCC.


State and national news outlets are taking notice.

Recently Fulton Reception & Diagnostic Center (FRDC) Major Albin Narvaez spoke with the national news agency the Associated Press about both how staffing levels affect safety and how the pay increases have affected staffing levels.

Read the story at »

Meanwhile, Director of Adult Institutions Travis Terry talked with the statewide radio news agency Missourinet about the impact mobile custody units have made on the staff who work for them, the staff in facilities they help, and the overall morale and wellbeing of our facilities.

Listen the story at »

Lauding Leaders

Three Corrections Team Members Complete Leadership Academy


Congratulations to the latest Missouri Department of Corrections emerging leaders to graduate from the Missouri Leadership Academy, in which staff from multiple state government agencies work together to solve problems.

Transition Center of St. Louis Associate Superintendent Antonio Muhammed and his multiagency team presented a capstone project about risk-management preparation and communications. Division of Offender Rehabilitative Services Mental Health Contract Monitor Jessica Feldman and her team tackled daycare for the children of state workers. And Division of Adult Institutions Programs Administrator Rick Skaggs and his team shared their project about improving the procurement process in state government.

The Missouri Leadership Academy brings together emerging leaders from across all executive departments to build new skills and become better leaders. This leadership program incorporates approaches that are proven successful in other high-performing organizations.

July 2023 Employee of the Month


Samuel Pruski, a lieutenant at Algoa Correctional Center (ACC), has been named employee of the month for July 2023.

Pruski uses his keen observation skills to keep his facility safe. While conducting a search, Pruski noticed a stack of folded papers. Concerned that the papers might have been contaminated, Pruski ensured that they were secured and then tested. The test results confirmed that they had been soaked in an intoxicating substance.

Pruski's attention to detail and decisive action eliminated dangerous contraband from the area, making staff, offenders and the facility safer.


Bulen, Homan Honored


Congratulations to Lieutenant Terry Bulen and Officer Barry Homan, recipients of the Missouri Department of Corrections Lifesaver Award.

When an offender housed at Boonville Correctional Center was found unresponsive on a floor in the facility, Bulen and Homan immediately responded and took appropriate measures, saving the offender's life.

On Parade

Honor Guard Marches in Chillicothe


Last month the Western Region Honor Guard braved the heat to represent the department in a parade during the Sliced Bread Day festival in Chillicothe, the town recognized as the 1928 birthplace of sliced bread. The daylong celebration also included concerts, a bread-baking competition, history displays, food and games.

Honor Guard members from Chillicothe Correctional Center (CCC) and Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (WRDCC) participating in the parade included Lieutenant Sammie Gray on rifle (CCC), Sergeant Joshua Bedingfield on United States flag (CCC), Sergeant Zachary Morton on Missouri flag (WRDCC) and Sergeant Luis Pacheco on rifle (CCC).

Dog Days

Mid-Missouri Teams Run Drills


Algoa Correctional Center (ACC) and Fulton Reception & Diagnostic Center (FRDC) joined forces for dog team training sessions last month. Participants practiced room entry and building clearing. They ran trails with bloodhounds. The also worked on building a stronger relationship between the units. Dog teams not only support corrections operations but also frequently are called on to help other law enforcement agencies.

Bonne Terre Birthday Bash

Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center Turns 20


In recognition of 20 years since its founding, Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (ERDCC) is seeking memories and memorabilia from the past two decades. If you have news articles, photos or reminiscences you'd like to share, contact ERDCC through email or Facebook. Event organizers will share details regarding an upcoming anniversary celebration soon.

Work Well Missouri Department of Corrections Employee Health and Safety banner

Winning at Wellness

Dream Job Challenge

A career in corrections can be rewarding. It can also expose staff to negativity and stress.

The MODOC Wellness team wants to help you to find new ways to maintain a positive mindset to both counter the impact of stress and set you up to thrive. The DREAM JOB wellness challenge is a voluntary and free platform all Missouri Department of Corrections employees can use. It helps you practice positivity by thinking, writing and sharing about the best parts of your work.

desert waters books

To participate in this challenge, simply share what you love about what you do in an email to through September 16. Responses from participants will be shared weekly throughout the challenge period, sparking positive conversations about what we like about the work we do. 

Three winners will be randomly selected to receive an occupational wellness bundle, which includes a MODOC Wellness T-shirt and a set of Desert Waters pocket books on occupational wellness within Corrections.

Health Fair


The Crossroads Correctional Center (CRCC) team recently took part in a health and wellness fair organized by the CRCC Wellness Committee.

Participants learned about high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic health conditions. They met with representatives from the Corrections Way Ambassadors, the Peer Action Care Team (PACT) and other Department of Corrections initiatives.

They talked to state and local government and nonprofit organizations focused on helping Missourians live their best lives. The also took time out for fun by immersing their favorite supervisors in a dunking booth. (See the photos on their Facebook page.)

Employee Health Expansion

The Missouri Department of Corrections has procured additional funding and positions to help better serve the health and wellness needs of corrections staff. Changes are underway.

The Division of Human Services has created the Employee Support Unit, a team whose members help staff with matters affecting their day-to-day lives, providing guidance and connecting staff to the resources they need. Each facility will have an employee support specialist, who also serves nearby probation and parole staff. The department also has procured additional employee nurse positions so that each facility will have an employee nurse, who serves probation and parole staff as well. Additionally, the department has expanded the trauma unit so that we now have a trauma specialist in each region of the state.

Big League Inspiration

Pro Baseball Legends Darryl Strawberry and Willie Aikens Visit Mid-Missouri Prisons


Major League Baseball legends Darryl Strawberry and Willie Aikens joined Prison Fellowship last month at Boonville Correctional Center and Tipton Correctional Center to share their stories of personal transformation and minister to facility residents.


While achieving remarkable success as professional athletes, both Strawberry and Aikens struggled with addiction and spent time in prison before dedicating themselves to helping people through their faith.

Starting in 1983, Strawberry played for the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants and the New York Yankees, racking up four World Series championships and multiple records, awards and accolades, as well as widespread popularity among fans.


Strawberry's highly publicized drug use and legal battles, along with health problems, ended his baseball career. He connects his challenges to abuse and trauma he experienced throughout childhood.

"My pain led me to my greatness," he told the offenders gathered in the BCC chapel, "but my greatness would eventually lead to my destructive behavior."

Now an ordained pastor, Strawberry has run Strawberry Ministries with his wife, Tracy Strawberry, since 2011. He has visited more than 240 prisons throughout the country, but last month marked the St. Louis resident's first visit to a Missouri state prison.


Aikens played for the California Angels, the Toronto Blue Jays and, notably, the Kansas City Royals, for whom he hit a record-setting two home runs during one game in the 1980 World Series.

Following a series of drug arrests, Aikens spent 14 years in federal prison in Georgia. After release, he went back to work with the Royals, first as hitting instructor and now as a special assistant to baseball operations. 

During their BCC and TCC visits, Strawberry and Aikens made personal connections with event attendees.

Watch KOMU coverage of the visit, including an interview with BCC Deputy Warden Spencer Colliatie.

Transition Center on the Rise

Kansas City Publication Recognizes TCKC Accomplishments


Kansas City Star

The team at the Kansas City Reentry Center (TCKC) recently was recognized as a model of success for not only Missouri but also the nation.

The Kansas City Star reported on the multiple ways TCKC is making a difference for residents and staff as well as for the surrounding community, including partnerships with community nonprofits, a strong relationship with their West Bottoms neighbors, employment for residents, and a proven model for preparing people in the criminal justice system to successfully reenter the community.

“It's about the way that we relate to the residents, the way that we prepare them — quite honestly, the way that we treat them in some regards,” Superintendent Michelle Tippie told the Kansas City Star.

Resident Ervin Miles praised TCKC staff. “They pay attention a lot,” he told the Star. “They push you to be better, to do better, to make sure you’re making the right decisions.”

Read the story at

TCKC Clients Complete Connections to Success


This summer seven residents of the Transition Center of Kansas City graduated from the Personal and Professional Development program offered by the community nonprofit Connections to Success.


The graduates excelled in the two-week course designed to help them become more self-aware, self-confident and self-motivated while developing employability skills and life skills to fuel their post-incarceration success. Participants learned communications skills, goal-setting, life planning, job-interview techniques and professional networking.

To celebrate the accomplishment, the Kansas City Connections to Success team hosted a Next Steps ceremony attended by mentors, family and friends, TCKC staff, and alumni who are finding success after taking part in both TCKC and CTS. At  the ceremony, graduates credited the program with transforming, and even saving, their lives.

All of the graduates expressed gratitude for the TCKC team.


One announced that the event marked the first time in his 30 years that he'd graduated from anything. One reported having a job interview earlier that day. Another celebrated reuniting with his family.

Participation in programs like those offered by CTS and TCKC reduces the rate of reincarceration from 47% to about 14% — 8% if participants work with mentors long term.

Corrections Way Ambassadors

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!

Becoming an Ambassador

As of July 1, 2023, the department has adopted a new process for adding new Corrections Way ambassadors and influencers to the Corrections Way team.

Ambassador facilitate workshops and conduct one-on-one conversations with staff who need help preparing and practicing TCW skills. Influencers are responsible for other TCW activities at their worksites, including newsletters, bulletin boards and inspirational emails. Both roles are vital in sustaining the department's cultural shift through TCW.  The question becomes which role you feel most comfortable in and excited about.

What's New


Application Process

Anyone interested in becoming an ambassador or an influencer can simply complete and submit the TCW Team Member Application according to the instructions within the application. The application can be found on the K drive in the Ambassadors file or can be downloaded here. Applications are reviewed for completeness and accuracy. Approved applicants are notified within two weeks and then scheduled for the next TCW Boot Camp.

Boot Camp Format

The Corrections Way Boot Camps are designed to include both ambassadors and influencers. During boot camp, Senior Staff Development Training Specialists (SSDTS) Ashley Golden, Jamie Jepsen and Carissa Mitchell evaluate and determine which path the participants will take, based on each participant’s interests, skill set and attitude. At the end of the boot camp, each potential new ambassador receives a scheduled date and time to meet with an SSDTS one-on-one to discuss next steps and enroll in the Ambassador Learning Path.

Ambassador Learning Path

The Ambassador Learning Path includes dedicated learning opportunities and coaching sessions with an SSDTS. The learning path consists of online learning as well as individual and group coaching sessions. Ambassadors who complete boot camp are notified of the dates and times for the upcoming learning path coaching sessions, and the SSDTS tracks the progress in DOC.GPS. The learning path must be completed within three months.

If you have questions, please contact one of the Senior Staff Development Training Specialists: Ashley Golden (central region), Jamie Jepsen (eastern region), or Carissa Mitchell (western region).

Ambassador Spotlight

Charles Reed, Staff Development Trainer

Southeast Correctional Center


SECC Ambassadors

I originally became an ambassador because I had a great deal of respect for the person who asked me to do it. I went to the Corrections Way Ambassador Boot Camp and now find the information I learned to be something I use almost daily. As a training officer for an institution, I have the opportunity and the responsibility to inform and educate our employees. The Corrections Way is something I try to share early on with our newly hired staff and reiterate as they transition through the different phases of their careers.

The Corrections Way Ambassador role is more than just title. I take pride in sharing with all of our employees our way of life. It's our foundation for building strong relationships with our coworkers and managers both up and down the chain.

TCW encompasses so much. It's everything from how we interact with each other on a daily basis, to how we build strong working relationships that foster mutual trust and respect for one another, to how we assist our employees in understanding the value that they bring to our workforce. I often explain to our employees how important they are in their individual roles in assisting MODOC in accomplishing the overall mission of "Improving Lives for Safer Communities." 

I tell people all the time: If you want to find contentment in your job, make it more than a job and get involved in things MODOC has to offer. Find a way to make a difference because we are in the people business. It's important that we take that seriously. I have enjoyed and taken pride in being able to have a positive impact on both our employees and our offender population. The Corrections Way can help you do that, and I highly recommend to anyone who may be interested to consider a role in assisting in this area.

PACT Facts

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM)

Last month a new class of Peer Action Care Team (PACT) members was trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). The department now has 112 CISM-trained staff throughout the state. CISM equips these specially trained team members with the skills to facilitate a debriefing alongside a mental health professional (often a member of the Employee Trauma Team), following a traumatic event at a worksite.

PACT Leaders


Each Division of Adult Institutions facility and Probation & Parole region has its own PACT leader. PACT leaders serve as the primary contacts for the peer support team at that site.

They market the PACT program and maintain a team roster that is readily accessible to all staff. They assist in mobilizing their PACT teams when necessary after stressful events and help ensure that all appropriate follow-up is completed. PACT leaders serve as liaisons to the PACT coordinator at Central Office.

Current PACT Leaders

Algoa Correctional Center (ACC) - Aimee Echols; Boonville Correctional Center (BCC) - April Weaver; Chillicothe Correctional Center (CCC) - Teresa DeSpain; Crossroads Correctional Center (CRCC) - Lisa Clark; Probation & Parole Eastern Region and Transition Center of St. Louis (TCSTL) - Gregory Wilson;Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (ERDCC) - Carrie Sederstrom & Michelle Dalton; Farmington Correctional Center (FCC) - Jerrell Hollinger & Jesse Maxey; Fulton Reception & Diagnostic Center (FRDC) - William Bauer; Jefferson City Correctional Center (JCCC) - Derek Pliska and Terry Wadley; Moberly Correctional Center (MCC) - Shayla Kennedy; Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC) - Juli Patterson; Maryville Treatment Center (MTC) - Tara Murphy; Probation & Parole North-Central Region - Sarah Lee; Probation & Parole Northeast Region - Traca Martin; Northeast Correctional Center (NECC) - Carl Ulrich; Ozark Correctional Center (OCC) - Joshua Thomas; Potosi Correctional Center (PCC) - Lisa Roberts; South Central Correctional Center (SCCC) - Brian Patton; Probation & Parole Southeast Region - Shawn Jenkins; Southeast Correctional Center (SECC) - Hollie Vandergriff; Probation & Parole Southwest Region - Luis Martinez; Tipton Correctional Center (TCC) - Debbie Oxford; Transition Center of Kansas City (TCKC) - Theresa Kent; Probation & Parole Western Region - Angel Mathes; Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (WERDCC) - David Duckworth & Rachel Hayden; Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (WRDCC) - Heather Berry; Central Office Complexes - Meckenzie Hayes.

Training Academy Updates

Director's Coin of Excellence


Meet the newest recipients of the Director of Staff Training & Development Coin of Excellence, who rose to the top of Class 16 and Class 17 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 Charmina Wesbury from Ozark Correctional Center (OCC), Adam Stoor from Crossroads Correctional Center (CRCC), Sophia Machen from Southeast Correctional Center (SECC), Jennifer Towers from Northeast Correctional Center (NECC), James Bone from Potosi Correctional Center (PCC) and Robert Perez from Crossroads Correctional Center (CRCC). 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.

Missouri Mobile ID

Missourians Can Now Access a State ID on a Cell Phone

Digging out a driver's license or state ID every time you need to verify your age may soon be a thing of the past. The state of Missouri has launched a digital Mobile ID application.

  • The mID is a convenient alternative option for proving identity from your mobile device. It is a voluntary, secure, digitized version of a valid Missouri-issued driver license, nondriver identification card or noncommercial instruction permit that a Missourian securely accesses through an app on a compatible smartphone. 
  • Downloading the mID app from the App Store or Google Play is free.
  • The mID does not replace the physical card. 
  • The mID is secured by use of a secure pin or face capture from your mobile device. After securely accessing the mID, the user controls what information is displayed or shared, with the help of privacy view options.This feature enables users to verify their age at participating locations without exposing other sensitive data such as height, weight or address. 
  • Entities electing to accept the mID for verification may use the free downloadable Verify app available from the App Store or Google Play, online options, or other scanners or bar code readers.   

In addition to the Mobile ID, the Missouri Department of Revenue is continuing development and testing for a new secure remote-renewal process, which will be available to Mobile ID-enrolled users who meet eligibility requirements, are 21-49 years of age, and certify meeting vision examination requirements within the preceding 12 months. This remote renewal process is still being piloted.

Learn more at the Missouri Department of Revenue website.



The state’s business cycle runs on a fiscal year timeframe, this year from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024 (FY2024). Each year we articulate our priorities to support better government in Missouri through our strategic plan. In fiscal year 2024, our mission and our goals remain constant, but our strategic initiatives continue to evolve. We are building on past years' success and adding new priorities.

Take a look at our current strategic initiatives »


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.