Staff Newsletter | November 2023

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missouri department of corrections

Employee Newsletter | November 2023

Leadership Legacy

Precythe & Sturm Announce Retirement


Missouri Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe and Deputy Director Matt Sturm have announced that they will leave the Missouri Department of Corrections at the end of the month. 

Precythe has served as director since January 2017, following a 30-year career in the North Carolina Division of Community Corrections. She also has served on the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board, the Correctional Leaders Association Executive Committee, the Council of State Governments Justice Center Advisory Board, and the inaugural class of the Council on Criminal Justice. She has been president of the national Correctional Leaders Association since 2020.

Sturm has served the department for more than 28 years, in roles including department deputy director, Division of Offender Rehabilitative Services director, legislative liaison, constituent services officer and case manager.

Governor Mike Parson will appoint an acting department director in the coming weeks.

Seven Years of Successes

Under Precythe and Sturm's leadership, the Missouri Department of Corrections has implemented dozens of major innovations to advance its mission of improving lives for safer communities in the state of Missouri, including:

  • A custom workplace-culture model and supervisory support system
  • Investment of nearly $175 million in staff pay raises
  • New staff health, safety, wellness, and trauma services
  • Transformation of staff training and development
  • Measurable improvements in staff morale, recruitment, and retention
  • Justice Reinvestment programs supporting more comprehensive and effective probation and parole supervision
  • Reentry programs, reentry centers, and transition centers better preparing Missourians for post-incarceration success
  • New higher-education partnerships and vocational training programs
  • Data-informed decision-making and evidence-based practices 

They consider workplace cultural transformation to be among the department's most significant accomplishments during their tenure and regard the corrections team as their greatest source of pride.

"My promise to you is this," Director Precythe said in a Nov. 1 message to staff: "Every opportunity Matt and I have to talk about the incredibly challenging work that happens in this business and the dedication that corrections professionals demonstrate every day, we will be thinking of you and telling your stories! Please continue doing the right thing. Please continue taking care of one another, supporting each other through the hard times and celebrating the good times."

Precythe and her husband plan to return home to North Carolina to enjoy retirement with their family, including four grandsons. Matt Sturm's wife, Division of Adult Institutions Deputy Director Vevia Sturm, also is retiring, and the two plan to travel in their camper van with their grandchildren and dogs.

“Director Precythe has been a great leader, colleague, and champion in state government, and we wish her the absolute best,” Governor Mike Parson said in a press release. “As we set out to transform and improve the culture across state government, Anne was there every step of the way. Under Anne’s leadership, not only have DOC staff turnover rates decreased but they’ve reversed, and we’ve witnessed a renewed sense of pride in public service among team members. Her leadership has been an inspiration not only to DOC but our entire Cabinet, and we will all greatly miss her infectious humor, quick wit, and tireless spirit.”

Honoring Heroes

Exceptional Public Servants Recognized with 2023 Director's Award of Valor


At an Oct. 3 ceremony, 13 members of the Missouri Department of Corrections team were presented with the Director's Award of Valor, an honor bestowed on corrections staff who act in a heroic or courageous manner on or off duty despite personal risk.

The 2023 award recipients include people who have physically placed themselves between a weapon-wielding assailant and a colleague, who have walked into a room literally engulfed in flames to usher someone to safety, who have stayed at the center of an ongoing catastrophe to help a stranger in need, and who have shown the fortitude, focus, and strength of character to stay calm in the face of tremendous danger and bring about best possible resolution. 

Shawna O'Brien

Maryville Treatment Center


Shawna O’Brien was traveling with family members on I-435 in Platte County when a group of eight motorcycles approached from behind and passed her, cutting off O’Brien’s vehicle and forcing her to brake. The motorcycles then lined up in front of her vehicle and took off at a high rate of speed. Two crashed into each other, ejecting the riders as the motorcycles rolled off the road.

O’Brien stopped her vehicle on the shoulder, and she and her mother jumped out to help the injured riders. As they rendered assistance, a semi-truck crashed into a nearby vehicle that had stopped for the accident, but O’Brien persisted in performing CPR on an unresponsive rider until emergency personnel arrived. One rider was pronounced deceased at the scene while the other was taken by helicopter to a hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

The act of heroism performed by Ms. O’Brien demonstrates her profound compassion and her willingness to place herself in harm’s way in the interest of helping someone in need.

Dara Lechman, Daniel Koch, Brad Clark, Kelly Laymon, Richard Brown

Southeast Correctional Center


Officer Dara Lechman was working in the infirmary at Southeast Correctional Center when she saw smoke and flames emanating from an occupied cell. She immediately called a Code 70 and instructed the occupant to exit the cell, which was open. The offender refused to leave.Officer Kelly Laymon then arrived on the scene, grabbed a fire extinguisher, entered the cell, and doused the burning mattress, putting out the fire. Overcome by smoke, Lechman began having an asthma attack and exited the cell, followed by Laymon. Still the offender refused to leave.

At that point, Officer Richard BrownSergeant Daniel Koch and Lieutenant Brad Clark entered the cell through thick smoke and repeatedly directed the offender to submit to restraints. He refused. Clark and Koch then each held one of the offender’s arms and escorted him from the cell and to the medical lobby, where he was assessed by medical staff.

The act of heroism performed by these officers prevented a larger fire, including a possible explosion, as well as potential serious injuries. They risked their own safety to ensure the wellbeing of patients and staff in the infirmary.

Gregory Varner, Macey Dasaire

Potosi Correctional Center


Officer Nita Dunn was entering the control room of a housing unit at Potosi Correctional Center when an offender sitting outside on a security bench freed himself, charged toward Dunn, gained access to the control room, and closed the door behind him. He then grabbed Dunn, held a prison-made weapon to her face, and demanded that Officer Macey Dasaire, the other staff member in the control room, open all of the cell doors. Dasaire tried to radio for help, but the offender threatened to kill Dunn if Dasaire didn’t comply.

Hoping to de-escalate the situation and buy time for other staff to respond, Dasaire maintained composure and asked the offender a series of questions. Eventually the frustrated offender removed the weapon from Dunn’s face, and Dunn broke loose and accessed the control panel, opening the control room door. Sergeant Gregory Varner then rushed into the room and tried to secure the offender, who repeatedly stabbed at Varner. Together, the three officers disarmed and restrained the offender. Varner sustained a superficial neck wound.

The act of heroism performed by these officers prevented serious injury and loss of life. Officer Varner, Officer Dasaire and Officer Dunn risked their own safety to protect not only one another but also everyone else in living and working in the housing unit.

Bradley Lilley, Angela Dobbins, Fedrick Wilson

Jefferson City Correctional Center


A Code 16 was called at a housing unit at Jefferson City Correctional Center when an offender was seen apparently hanging in his cell. Sergeant Timothy Bade, Case Manager Bradley Lilley, and officers Fedrick Wilson and Angela Dobbins immediately responded.

When Bade and Wilson entered the cell, the offender jumped to the floor, revealing a prison-made weapon tied to each hand, and stabbed Bade in the ribs. Bade deployed pepper spray and attempted to exit the cell with the other officers, but the offender attacked Bade, whose vision was impaired by pepper spray. Wilson tackled the offender and attempted to take him to the floor, at which point the offender began assaulting Wilson, stabbing him six times in the face, neck and head. Officer Dobbins and Case Manager Lilley pulled the offender off Wilson and restrained him.

The act of heroism performed by these courageous staff members prevented more serious injury and loss of life.

Louis Jegede, Chyna Taylor

Jefferson City Correctional Center


When a fight broke out in a cell at Jefferson City Correctional Center, officers Chyna Taylor and Louis Jegede quickly intervened, inserting themselves between the two offenders and separating them.

Officer Taylor had placed one offender in handcuffs and begun to escort him out of the housing wing when the second offender ran toward Taylor and her charge with a prison-made knife. Officer Jegede thwarted the attack on Taylor by grabbing and spinning the knife-wielding assailant, placing himself in harm’s way. As Taylor removed and secured the offender in her charge, the second offender thrust his weapon at Jegede’s abdomen until Taylor returned to help. Together, the two officers were able to disarm and restrain the attacker. To their great relief, Jedege’s only injury was a bruise to his ribs.

The act of heroism performed by these officers prevented serious injury and loss of life. Officer Jegede and Officer Taylor protected not only one another but also everyone else in living and working in the housing unit.

October 2023 Employee of the Month


Employee of the month Gregory Kreutzer, an institutional investigative officer at Tipton Correctional Center, does what it takes to keep his facility safe.

Early this year, Kreutzer closed two cases in one month, successfully stemming the flow of dangerous contraband into the prison. 

Kreutzer was thorough. He demonstrated skills in critical thinking and evidence collection. He reviewed camera surveillance and phone recordings to gather as much information as possible. He then passed the necessary information on to local law enforcement agencies, leading to the apprehension of the civilians involved in the criminal activity.

Kreutzer's diligence and attention to detail helped to protect the safety and well-being of TCC staff and residents.

Awards of Distinction

Southeast Correctional Center Team Recognized for Innovation


Soon after Southeast Correctional Center (SECC) Deputy Warden Matt Raymond, Recreation Director Mitchell Treadwell, and Recreation Officers Robert Dunn and Jody Enderle implemented a new system for checking out recreation equipment in the facility, they realized that the tool had broader applications, with the potential to improve facility safety. The team then set about developing and installing a proximity scanning system that tracks offender movement. The new system uses current department-issued IDs and a bar code scanning tool. Offenders scan their IDs when entering and leaving medical, recreation, food service, religious services and offender services areas. The system soon will be expanded to other areas of the facility.

The State of Missouri has bestowed the Award of Distinction for Innovation on the SECC team. This award recognizes state employees for their contributions toward a more efficient or productive work process or procedure, including providing a service, improving service quality, or developing money-saving ideas.

Amber Byrd Recognized for Public Service


District 20 Probation & Parole Officer II Amber Byrd was driving to her annual tuberculosis test when she noticed a distraught-looking man standing on the edge of a bridge. She notified local law enforcement and then parked her vehicle and approached the man, who told her he was considering ending his life. Using her motivational interviewing skills, Byrd persuaded the man to step away from the edge of bridge, listened to his concerns, provided information about crisis resources, and kept him calm until help arrived. Later, the man contacted the district Probation & Parole office and reported that Byrd had saved his life.

The State of Missouri has presented Amber Byrd with the Award of Distinction for Public Service. This award recognizes a state employee who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the advancement of state service by performing acts far and above the employee’s normal job requirements or by volunteering service or time to improve the quality of life for members of the community.

Reentry Champion

Farmington Maintenance Supervisor Honored


At the 2023 Missouri Reentry Conference, Farmington Correctional Center Maintenance Supervisor I Leo Thomas was presented with the Reentry Champion of the Year award, recognizing his work on FCC's reentry center project.

When assigned the task of creating a reentry center, Thomas was presented with a building in less-than-desirable condition. He transformed it into a showcase for programming, education and other services that help prepare residents for post-incarceration success.

Throughout the project, Thomas continually demonstrated enthusiasm and exceptional problem-solving abilities, finding creative solutions to overcome obstacles. He consistently went above and beyond, working additional hours to create a safe, inviting environment where clients can focus on reentry into our communities.

He also consistently maintained an exemplary level of professionalism and teamwork, collaborating effectively with fellow staff members and resident-workers to foster a cooperative, supportive environment that motivated and empowered everyone involved. The award recognizes Thomas's unparalleled dedication, passion and commitment to helping people succeed in their journey of reentering society.

Military Support

Staff Honored for Helping Teammate


Southeast Correctional Center (SECC) Captain Benjamin Crass, Captain Donna Peters, Captain Gabriel Porter, Lieutenant Michael Vison and Lieutenant William Petty recently were presented with the Patriotic Employers award from the U.S. Department of Defense in recognition of their efforts to accommodate and provide flexible scheduling for Eric Tidwell, a staff sergeant in the Missouri National Guard. The Department of Defense office was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers.

Apprenticeship Honor

Department of Corrections Named Employer of the Year

During National Apprenticeship Week, the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development hosted an annual Apprenticeship Summit in St. Louis, with presentations that centered around the theme "Moving Missouri Forward through Apprenticeship" and focused on how registered apprenticeships can function as a workforce solution.

The Missouri Department of Corrections was recognized as the Employer of the Year. More than 1,300 corrections officers have been trained through apprenticeships, making our department one of the largest employers outside union trade jobs to utilize apprenticeships.

In Memoriam

Mourning Losses in the Corrections Family


Recently retired Northeast Correctional Center (NECC) Warden Dan Redington died at his home in Centralia Nov. 1 after a battle with cancer.

Redington served as a submarine navigational electronic technician in the U.S. Navy for four years before joining the Missouri Department of Corrections. He was a member of the corrections family for three decades.

"I have always loved corrections," Redington said of his life of public service. "I feel that we are making a difference in society by taking individuals and working with them to turn out good citizens going back out into the community."

Redington was 54.


NECC Correctional Officer I Kelly Bernard Rolando died in the line of duty as the result of a vehicular accident Oct. 22 in Mexico, Missouri.

Rolando was a seven-year member of the corrections team, who worked at both Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (WERDCC) and NECC. Officer Rolando's parents, Renee and Daniel Wombles, are longtime Department of Corrections staff members who proudly serve at NECC.

Governor Mike Parson issued a proclamation and ordered that flags be lowered to half staff in recognition of Rolando's sacrifice.

Rolando was 34.


Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (WRDCC) Case Manager Stephen Ray Decker died Nov. 11 at his home.

Decker began his career in the Missouri Department of Corrections in June 2001 as a Correctional Officer I at WRDCC before becoming a case manager. He worked in nearly every housing unit in the facility and served as a mentor to new staff.

Decker was 63.

NECC Dedicates Cancer Reflection Garden


On Oct. 19, NECC dedicated a garden to people affected by cancer, the leading cause of death in U.S. prisons.

In 2020, NECC cancer patients founded the New Hope Cancer Support Group, which now has 25 members who meet monthly. The garden's bench, made by Restorative Justice craftsmen, bears the name of group member Devlyn Howard, who lost his life in 2022. It offers a place for residents to rest, pray and reflect.

At the garden dedicated ceremony, seven NECC cancer survivors rang a Bell of Victory in celebration of triumphs in their fight against the disease.


New Role Helps P&P Clients Access Resources

As a component our strategic plan, in the category of reducing risk and recidivism, the department is adding regional behavioral health specialists (RBHS) across the state – one for each probation and parole region, starting with the southwest and southeast regions. The role of the RBHS is to provide assistance to probation and parole officers seeking resources for clients with behavioral health needs. Each RBHS will build a bridge between community resources and P&P officers. While their role is to support officers in serving clients, the RBHS does not provide direct clinical services. Some job duties include:

  • Review and interpret behavioral health screenings, as needed
  • Provide information on available behavioral health resources in the assigned region
  • Coordinate continuity of care for placement, records requests and information sharing
  • Provide clinical information and guidance to officers as they assist clients with compliance to behavioral health treatment needs
  • Assist with presentations, behavioral health related training for staff and outreach to support officers as appropriate
  • Coordinate reentry services as needed for offenders being released from department facilities

These services are possible through funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance through the Smart Probation Grant program. As a part of the grant, the Department of Corrections is required to conduct research on the effectiveness of these positions. The University of Missouri School of Social Work will send randomized monthly emails to staff and quarterly emails to clients in the field, both containing links to an anonymous survey. The results of this survey will help us understand the effectiveness of these positions. We are continuously looking for ways to provide the necessary resources to officers who assist clients to maintain pro-social behaviors while on supervision in the community.

P&P Publication

New, Improved Newsletter

P&P newsletter masthead, badge

After a hiatus, the Division of Probation & Parole newsletter is back! In its new incarnation, the publication P&P Insider is published quarterly, with the first issue delivered in October. Look for programming highlights, Reentry 2030 updates, professional development opportunities and more — plus a special section with news about what's happening in each P&P region of the state. Check out the fall issue »

Giving Back

Charitable Campaign Wrapping Up


State of Missouri employees can continue to make contributions to the 2024 Missouri State Employees Charitable Campaign (MSECC) through Nov. 30. This annual unified fundraising effort gives state employees the chance to make donations to their favorite charitable organizations through payroll deductions or one-time gifts. Pledge a payroll deduction using the ESS portal, paper pledge card or credit card platform. To contribute to any of the nearly 600 charitable organizations, visit

Corrections teams have been holding fundraising events at their worksites to raise money for nonprofits.

Training Academy Gives Back


Staff at the new Academy for Excellence in Corrections in Cameron donated $3,192 to nonprofit organizations. Big thanks to Stephanie Wilson, Ray LaFountain, Debbie Black, Chad O’Callaghan, Katherine Engel, Steve Mooney, Sabrina Doss, Phil Bower, Sharon Smith, Dan Rodriguez, Chelsea Spackler, Noah Montgomery, Lexi McGuire, Danny Engel, Jessicah Montgomery, Josh McNutt and Gabe Wagers.

Central Office has Moves


Central Office hosted a dance competition to raise funds for MSECC. Staff voted with cash to select five members of the executive team to participate in a dance off. The lucky winners were Office of Professional Standards Director Vince Rost, Division of Probation & Parole Director Julie Kempker, General Counsel Matt Briesacher, Division of Adult Institutions Director Travis Terry and Division of Offender Rehabilitative Services Director Valarie Moseley, the last three of whom enlisted the help of their TikTok-savvy teen daughters, who, expectedly, stole the show. Rost performed a Pulp Fiction-inspired dance with his wife, Caroline, and Kempker did the Hokey Pokey with her Probation & Parole cohorts. Central Office events raised $3,193 for Bikers Against Child Abuse, the Pantry JC and Harmony House.

Philanthropic in Pink


Algoa Correctional Center staff also voted with cash for some of their teammates to provide entertainment for the rest of the staff — in this case, by dressing in costumes and walking around the facility.

The fundraiser brought in $627 for MSECC charities.

Preparing for Microsoft 365

Microsoft Applications Migration Begins


The ITSD Microsoft project team is in the process of migrating the current Microsoft experience to Microsoft 365 (M365) as part of our DGT Initiative portfolio of projects.

After months of diligent preparation and testing, the team is excited to announce that the Microsoft Applications (Apps) deployment and Microsoft Exchange migrations began in October 2023.

When will I see changes?

Due to the scope of this upgrade, the state is conducting a phased implementation. Migration schedules were carefully planned to account for each agency's unique needs. The deployment and migration process began in October 2023 and continues through July 2024.

What does this mean for me?

Microsoft Applications (e.g. Outlook, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.) will upgrade, offering greater functionality. The Microsoft Exchange migration will consist of moving your Outlook data (emails, meetings, etc.). After the migration, you will access Microsoft applications differently and even more seamlessly.

What happens next?

Approximately one month before any changes occur for you, you will begin receiving communications through email and other channels. These communications will contain key details such as pre-migration tasks, how to log in after migration, and where to get help if needed. Communications are reviewed in advance by key leaders from your Agency and will be distributed based on your Agency’s preferred communication process.

How do I learn more?

Learn about your new tools on the M365 Hub at Microsoft 365 Hub - Home ( Also, watch your email for project announcements and next steps to prepare you for implementation.

Thank you for supporting the changes underway. The Digital Government Transformation (DGT) Initiative will strengthen the services we provide to each other, citizens, and businesses.

Taking Care of Yourself


Get a Flu Shot


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.

The Department of Corrections offers on-site flu vaccine clinics. Check in with your employee health nurse for details.

Need inspiration? Watch Nurse Amy Kitchens give Director Anne Precythe a flu shot »

Blood Pressure Blitz


Thanks to everyone who took part in the Wellness Challenge B/P Blitz, part of a campaign to raise awareness about common chronic health conditions among corrections staff. Special thanks to Potosi Correctional Center Safety Manager Randall Moak and Employee Health Nurse Susan Romines, who assembled a gift basket for a drawing among B/P Blitz participants. Alicia Wise was the winner.


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!

Ambassador Spotlight

Northeast Correctional Center


The Corrections Way ambassador team at Northeast Correctional Center (NECC) is small but mighty. Facing losses and transitions in their administration, the cohesive group has focused on staying positive and promoting TCW principles while also recruiting new members through a mentoring program and leadership walks. Recently, NECC held "stress-free" days during which staff played games with residents.

Earlier this month, the team delivered 13 Keurig coffee makers and assorted K-cups for staff to use throughout the facility. Each machine is decorated with the pillars of The Corrections Way, reminding staff to use the principles in everyday work life. Through the end of December, the team is sending out COFFEE TALK weekly email messages discussing key points from TCW, such as difficult conversations, value premise and other aspects a refresher for staff in their daily work assignments. 

The team also is hanging a mirror in the assembly room area with a sign reading, “Are you the Face of Corrections?” Surrounding messages include key points on career building, dressing for success and charting a career path with corrections, as well as questions about who are they leading and who is looking up to them.

In December the team will revisit CORE training.

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 1 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 Ricardo Morales from Boonville Correctional Center (BCC), Shirmira Smith from Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC) and Jasmine Juares from Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (WRDCC). 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.



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 Trust on Your Team


We're working hard to retain staff and to make the Missouri Department of Corrections a great place to work. An essential part being effective in our day-to-day work is cultivating trust among teammates.


  • Be honest and supportive with coworkers.
  • Respect privacy and confidentiality.
  • Communicate openly and directly.
  • Ask for help, and offer help.