The Crossroads Correctional Center (CRCC) in northwest Missouri’s Cameron could be closing. Governor Mike Parson’s state budget proposal includes shuttering the prison and moving many of the inmates and workers to the other prison in town – the Western Missouri Correctional Center (WMCC). The rest would transfer to other facilities.
“As governor, I am not interested in building more prisons,” he says. “We will not shy away from these challenges. As a former sheriff and law enforcement officer for over 22 years, I understand first hand the importance of re-entry programs and alternative sentencing. This (consolidation) can be done while ensuring safety, improving security, and delivering a much-needed pay raise – all being done with no layoffs.”
The plan is projected to save the state $20 million. The money would be used to give Missouri corrections workers, minus executive staff, a one percent pay increase for every two years of service. That’s on top of the proposed three percent pay raise Parson wants for all state workers. According to Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe, the pay boost would be the largest in the state agency’s history.
The department has been struggling to fill hundreds of correctional officer job vacancies and hopes the potential pay boost would help to close the gap.
On the flip side, Missouri’s prison population is on the decline and has been since changes to the state’s criminal code went into effect in 2017 and possibly from efforts to keep people from returning to prison. The state has 21 prisons with about 30,200 offenders.
WMCC, a medium security prison, can hold 1,923 inmates and currently has a population of 1,257. Crossroads, a maximum security facility, has roughly 900 offenders. According to Precythe, half of WMCC would convert to maximum security. If the consolidation is made, WMCC would operate at 100% capacity.
Crossroads would move to “caretaker status”, meaning a small number of workers would remain on the premises to run the power plant that provides electricity to both prisons.
The prisons are two of the largest employers in the northwest Missouri town of 10,000.
Precythe would not elaborate on a timetable for the consolidation of the two prisons.
She says there are no plans, at this time, for any other Missouri prisons to consolidate.
State Rep. Brandon Ellington, a Democrat from Kansas City, supports the governor’s plan. He says he’s spoken to Crossroads inmates.
Parson’s $29.8 billion budget outline heads to the legislature for consideration.
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