The consolidation has wrapped up for two prisons in northwest Missouri’s Cameron. State Corrections Department spokeswoman Karen Pojmann tells Missourinet the move of all Crossroads Correctional Center inmates to Western Missouri Correctional Center was official on Friday.
“The process went very smoothly,” she says. “Now, Western Missouri Correctional Center is fully staffed, which is very exciting. It’s the first time that’s happened in years. Many staff have moved to other prisons throughout the state as well as in Cameron. Many moved to other facilities in the northwestern region, so many of those facilities are fully staffed, including Chillicothe Correctional Center.”
About a handful of workers remain at Crossroads to maintain the property, a power plant there to provide energy to both prisons, and for other purposes.
The agency closed Crossroads to prisoners to help alleviate costs, major correctional officer shortages and give most department workers statewide a pay raise. In January, Governor Mike Parson proposed the consolidation, a move that received strong bipartisan support.
The state’s prison population is about 28,000. Pojmann says the move helps to bolster safety for workers and prisoners across Missouri.
“Staff have been distributed to other prisons that were understaffed,” she says. “It helps us to reduce overtime and reduce mandatory overtime so we can cut down on staff fatigue and staff stress. It’s really a great step forward for the department.”
She says there were no layoffs, but the consolidation did cut about 370 previously open positions.
“This definitely makes a huge dent in the number of vacancies we have,” Pojmann says. “We do still have many, many openings throughout the state.”
As for the toilet paper factory at Crossroads, Pojmann says the state is looking into whether to get that back up and running for prisoners to work at again at some point.
This week, she says the department launched a new job application process online that is mobile-friendly and can be filled out online, instead of sending in a PDF form.
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