Efforts to improve morale and change a corrosive culture among Missouri prison workers has been criticized as ineffective.
Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe tells Missourinet that progress is being made and defends a 24-hour hotline installed for disgruntled employees to report mistreatment.
Precythe says the prison workforce is being hindered by the strong economy but plans to negotiate with lawmakers for better wages.
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.
Gross says the national average for corrections officers pay is $38,400 while starting pay in Missouri is $29,500.
A culture of harassment, intimidation and retaliation at Missouri prisons was exposed almost two years ago. Low pay has also been cited as a problem.