Here at the MOCOA office, we have been receiving MANY phone calls concerning staff shortages and overtime.
We are painfully aware of the situation. We have been relaying this problem to legislators, the Governors’ office and central office for a very long time. We are aware that this is a pot ready to boil over. Without major changes from legislators it is only going to get worse in the near future.
The hiring pools are depleted. Nobody wants to work for a department that is one of the lowest paid in the nation. The money isn’t there to run the risk of being a corrections officer. It’s just not worth it to most people. Until the wages go up significantly theses hiring pools will remain empty.
This causes a very dangerous situation for our corrections staff and the public. Many officers are being forced to work multiple double shifts every week. They are burned out, tired and frustrated. Many essential posts aren’t being covered due to staff shortages. These conditions are the perfect storm for an employee to “drop the ball” or simply miss something that they would have normally caught. We understand this.
It also is a prime opportunity for inmates as well. They know how short staffed we are as well as anybody. Our state government is aware. They have the statistics on prison staff shortages. They know that it increases our chances of being hurt and that it increases the chances of riots and discourse within the inmate population.
We are frustrated as well. We want nothing more than for our prisons to be staffed well and for our officers to be paid a decent wage and to be safe in their work environment. We are still carrying the battle flag on this situation.
If you are being worked to the breaking point and being held accountable for anything caused by exhaustion please call us. No negative entries should be placed in your file due to this situation. We urge you to keep records of these shortages each shift so that if the unthinkable happens you can prove through documentation that it was a direct result of these shortages. You may need these figures later.
Please stay vigilant, watch your fellow officers and above all else stay safe.
It is time for the MOCOA annual scholarship program again. The graduating high school student must be a child / dependent child or grandchild of a current member. MOCOA must receive the student’s scholarship application packet in their offices no later than July 21, 2017 to be eligible. The packet MUST include the following:
- A letter from the MOCOA member who is sponsoring the child. It should include why they think the student is a good candidate for a scholarship and how they are related to the child.
- A 500 word essay written by the child. The subject of this essay should be: “The Future Of Corrections.” Please explain and give examples of your opinion.
- Three letters of recommendation from other members of the community (clergy, teachers, business owners, etc.) A listing of grade point averages, special training, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, employment, the college that the student is hoping to attend and which field they plan to go into after college graduation.
- Remember to have a cover sheet that includes the child’s name, phone number and address, the sponsor’s name, phone and address, including work institution. Include the name, address and phone number of the school they current attend with the dates of graduation ceremonies.
All of the above information is required and should be included to avoid being disqualified. Unfortunately, several scholarship packets have been disqualified in the past due to not submitting all required information.
Mail Scholarship packet to:
7141 Business 50 West
Jefferson City, Mo 65109
Packets received after July 21, 2017 will be disqualified.
On Monday, March 27th, Missouri Corrections Officers Association held their quarterly meeting in Jefferson City. Guests at this meeting were Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe and the head of Probation and Parole, Kenny Jones. Director Precythe expressed her willingness to work with the Association, as well as staff throughout the department, in hopes to improve the working environment for all staff.
It is apparent that under her leadership you are going to see many changes within the department in the near future. Many of these changes are long overdue and in the long run will be beneficial for staff.
As Director Precythe went around the room, asking each board member what their biggest issues are, she heard over and over morale, staff treatment, promotional system, good ol’ boy system and pay. She expressed that she could work on all the issues addressed, with the exception of pay, which is controlled by the legislature. She did express however that she wouldn’t interfere in anyway with our efforts to achieve improvements in that area. That alone is an improvement for us as we have been lobbied against by the department year after year regarding pay and overtime issues.
Keep in mind Director Precythes’ success has to be a team effort and not a one way street.
Kenny Jones spoke a few minutes about the connection between probation and parole and custody and the need for them to be on the same team. He also stated that he and Director Precythe will be visiting all the institutions, visiting with staff and seeking out their ideas of improvement for the department.
Thank you to Director Precythe and P&P Director Kenny Jones for attending our meeting and listening to our concerns.