Missouri Prison Reform received the following email from a resident of Jefferson City Correctional Center. Some edits were made by Missouri Prison Reform for clarity.
understaffing vs. rehabilitation
To offer the public an article I feel honesty is a no#1 issue so this article will be blunt and to the point even though it may expose situations D.O.C. would like to keep from the public. Jefferson City Correctional center is grossly understaffed sometimes operating with as little as 25 correctional staff in the facility. This fact along with a small percentage of lazy staff and staff who are poorly trained has caused excessive miscounts and lockdowns. I am currently assigned to housing unit 5 which is what population has named “The Program House”. 2 wings house inmates who have made the decision to better themselves and learn life skills that will assure they have the optimism and knowledge to reenter and be a benefit to society. Housing unit 5 has a lockdown wing in B wing and the upper walk of C wing is R and O offenders therefore automatically locked down. A wing is the intensive therapeutic community and is strictly operated by 5 facilitators and several Elders housed in the wing. D wing is the honor wing/reentry program and has 8 facilitators and several Elders who assist them. These wings are strictly operated by these offenders therefore keeping control of the ” Clients”/reentry students. Housing unit 5 offers over 30 life skill classes that assist the offender with everything from positive self-esteem, to helping the offender battle and prevail over drug and alcohol addiction. These classes are scheduled from 8am.to 6pm.For about 3 yrs I’ve witnessed offenders struggle with these classes and work hard to learn all they can to help them be a productive citizen when they are released from prison. There are successful offenders. The past year there has been about 40% lockdown time and daily miscounts resulting in offenders missing classed that are canceled because staff constantly fail to submit proper count sheets. Also, when there is a lack of officers housing unit 5 is automatically locked down while the rest of the prison remains open. Officers have stated the miscounts give the staff a longer lunch break.5 house alone is locked down longer than any house in JCCC. Prove it? As I write this article at this time we are locked down since 9:20am. supposedly for a code 19 however there has not been a recount at this time. Its one of the antics staff uses to lock us down. Certain officers when they are stationed in 5 house lock the house down for no reason other than they have no knowledge or common sense on how to run a housing unit so it makes their job easier and helps them to make less mistakes concerning their job. Since 5 house is a program house and the offenders are programmed and do not wish for conflict with staff, the offenders do not complain or file IRR’s/Grievances therefore the lockdowns in 5 house continue and the offenders’ rehabilitation suffers resulting in men with no life skills being released back into society. MO. D.O.C. has been branded as only warehousing offenders. A book by the author Lisa Kinsler who at one time was a correctional officer, is about the warehousing of offenders. Warehousing offenders only results in the offender breaking the law again and returning to prison and the constant lockdowns assures this happens.