The Missouri Department of Corrections is making changes to the visitation system in the state, in the name of budget cuts.

The Department of Corrections saw their budget cut by $4.5 million dollars for this fiscal year and made some efficiency adjustments accordingly. Tom Clements, the Director of the Division of Adult Institutions, says the biggest difference will be in visitation hours.

“This change in our visitation schedule allows us to reduce our comp time accumulation and gives us an opportunity to utilize some of those officers in some different posts on Thursdays,” Clements said.

The Department will eliminate visitation on Thursdays, which was the least used of the four visitation days. Saturday and Sunday visitations will stay the same, and extra hours will be added on Friday.

“I can’t give you an exact dollar savings, but the dollar savings primarily is associated with a reduction in overtime costs. That’s pretty compelling because we had an over $1 million reduction in our overtime appropriation for the current fiscal year,” Clements said.

Clements says there was an effort to try to lessen the impact on the visitations themselves.

“When (inmates) get released from prison if they have a strong, prosocial support system waiting for them; that can help them make the transition successfully. It can be a factor in success or failure and therefore a factor in future crime, in future recidivism,” Clements said.

The changes go into effect today. Clements says they’ve been notifying inmates and those visiting them about the changes for a month now.

AUDIO: Ryan Famuliner reports [1 min MP3]