Audio: Morale problems still abound in Missouri prison system

Missouri Department of Corrections

Efforts to improve morale and change a corrosive culture among Missouri prison workers has been criticized as ineffective. Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe says progress is being made and defends a 24-hour hotline installed for disgruntled employees to report mistreatment.



The head of the Missouri Corrections Officer’s Association says the only way to improve employee morale and stem massive turnover at the state’s prisons is to boost pay. Gary Gross says wages will have to increase by more than $8,000 annually to be competitive.



Low pay is seen as a reason for poor employee morale and massive turnover at the state’s prisons. Department of Corrections Director Precythe says the prison workforce is being hindered by the strong economy but plans to negotiate with lawmakers for better wages.



According to the corrections officers union, average pay nationally is $38,400 for prison guards while starting pay in Missouri is $29,500.