Governor Mike Parson visited three Missouri prisons on Friday to meet with Department of Corrections staff to continue to focus on restructuring state government and discuss proposed changes designed to improve conditions for corrections workers and boost safety for Missourians.
Parson said the efforts to restructure state government are driven by the administration’s “dedication” to finding efficiencies. He noted the problem is not the state workforce and he understands and appreciates “the value and challenges” correctional workers face, as Parson is a former law enforcement officer.
Friday’s visits follow the State of the State Address announcement of a plan to consolidate two prisons in Cameron and invest the savings in staff wage increases.
The Governor’s Office reports Missouri Department of Corrections employees are among the country’s lowest-paid corrections professionals. Under the proposed plan, Crossroads Correctional Center would be consolidated with the Western Missouri Correctional Center to help ease the strain of a statewide staffing shortage, improve employee retention, and ensure facility safety.
The plan includes a proposed three percent pay increase for all state workers, with corrections workers receiving a one percent increase for every two years of continuous Missouri Department of Corrections employment, up to 20 years.
The plan would entail no layoffs and no additional offender releases. Parson’s proposed plan is progressing through the Missouri General Assembly.