Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Missouri is sending out settlement checks to thousands of current and former correctional officers. The checks mark the end of a 10-year court battle with the Missouri Department of Corrections for refusing to pay officers for pre- and post-shift security clearance work.

State prison in Bonne Terre

The payouts range from $900 to nearly $5,000 per officer. St. Louis attorney Gary Burger said the $117 million settlement includes about 22,000 correctional officers.

“We wanted to try to get that money before Thanksgiving to folks,” he said. “It’s well earned by the officers. We’re happy to get this recovery for them.”

He said the clearance work takes about 15 minutes per shift.

“They have to go through security, have their ID checked. They have to go through airlocks, get buzzed through doors, get keys, radio, handcuffs, sometimes OC or pepper spray. They walk to their posts, they do a briefing with the shift that they’re relieving to make sure they know everything going on in that hall or wing. They were only paid for the time on post. Similarly, when they leave, they have to get out of the institution. It’s a lot of security to go through.”

Burger said the settlement involves union and non-union correctional officers.

There will be two payouts – officers will get 80% of their payout any day now and another is scheduled for delivery in February.

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