Missouri Department of Corrections | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Department of Corrections

An illustration of Missouri death-row inmate Marcellus Williams.
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri will use two of its 34 vials of the sedative pentobarbital on Tuesday when it executes Marcellus Williams, who was convicted in the 1998 killing of Felicia Gayle, a former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter.

The state has enough pentobarbital for 17 executions, Williams’ included, according to a document obtained by St. Louis Public Radio. No one except the state of Missouri knows where the stockpile comes from, despite lawsuits from inmates and media outlets.

Gov. Eric Greitens greets guests at this residence after being sworn in on Jan. 9, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has jogged with soldiers, done push-ups with state troopers and rolled up hoses with firefighters since becoming governor of Missouri.

On Monday, he'll serve food to prison inmates near Jefferson City.

It's part of an initiative that eight governors, Republicans and Democrats, a lieutenant governor and an attorney general will take part in this week as a way to understand the needs of prison workers. The push is backed by the U.S. Justice Department, the National Reentry Resource Center and the Association of State Correctional Administrators.

A lawsuit alleging the Missouri Department of Corrections systematically denies medical treatment to prisoners with chronic hepatitis C has taken a big leap forward after a judge certified it as a class action.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey last week ruled that the lawsuit, which was filed in December, meets all the requirements for class certification, including numerous plaintiffs and common issues of law and fact.

Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri.
File photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The new leaders of the Missouri Department of Corrections say they’re working to shake off the negative image due to numerous lawsuits filed in the last five years by current and former corrections officers, who alleged widespread harassment, intimidation and retaliation.

Gov. Eric Greitens made a brief call to reform the agency after he took office and brought in a new director, Anne Precythe. And last month, a House subcommittee released a list of recommendations to address the agency’s issues. But some corrections officers say things won’t change until some of the current supervisors and high-ranking officers are fired.  

A Missouri House subcommittee is investigating claims of harassment and retaliation at the state Department of Corrections. Photo taken in mid-February 2017.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A longtime Missouri Department of Corrections employee says the agency is rampant with nepotism and fraternization.

Travis Case, who works at the northeast Missouri correctional facility at Bowling Green, testified Thursday in front of the Missouri House subcommittee on Corrections, Workforce Environment and Conduct. That panel is investigating allegations of harassment and retaliation against department employees by supervisors and coworkers.

Missouri corrections officials are not required to disclose the identities of the pharmacists who supply the state’s lethal execution drugs, an appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Reversing a lower court judge who had ordered the Department of Corrections to reveal their names, the Missouri Court of Appeals found that the DOC did not violate the state’s Sunshine Law by refusing to provide them.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

The new director of the Missouri Department of Corrections is promising "a new day," "a new direction" and "a new culture" for an agency that’s been plagued by allegations of harassment and retaliation.

Anne Precythe is the former Corrections director for North Carolina, and was tabbed by Governor Eric Greitens to replace George Lombardi. Precythe's appointment was confirmed Thursday by the State Senate.

Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

A special legislative committee will look into allegations of harassment and discrimination within the Missouri Department of Corrections.

The investigation follows a report by The Pitch, a Kansas City-based, weekly newspaper, that from 2012 to 2016 the state paid $7.5 million to former employees in settlement payments and court judgments. 

Does a prison’s failure to regard atheism as a “religious preference” violate the Constitution?

That’s the question raised by a former Missouri prisoner, who contended the failure of the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) to list “atheist” on prison intake forms violated his First Amendment rights.

The case was filed in federal court in Kansas City more than four-and-a-half years ago by Randall Jackson, a persistent DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) offender who served prison terms from 2006-08 and again from 2010-2014.

A legal challenge to Missouri’s execution protocol brought by four taxpayers has been rejected by the Missouri Court of Appeals.

In a decision Tuesday, the appeals court upheld a lower court’s dismissal of the taxpayers’ claims just days after they filed their lawsuit.

The lawsuit sought to halt the scheduled execution by lethal injection of convicted murderer David Zink. The execution went ahead as scheduled, on July 14, 2015.

Offenders harvest fresh fruits and vegetables at gardens located at Missouri Department of Corrections' institutions to donate to the needy.
Missouri Department of Corrections

A record donation of produce to more than 80 food pantries and other sites around the state is coming from an unlikely source: the Missouri Department of Corrections.

For the third year in a row, prisoners in the Department's Restorative Justice Garden Program have harvested and donated a record haul of fresh fruits and vegetables to pantries, churches, nursing homes and school districts throughout Missouri.  This year, the offender-grown produce weighed in at 178 tons, topping last year's donation of 163 tons.

(Courtesy Photo / Used With Permission)

Having prisoners train service dogs may seem like an unusual combination but in rural eastern Missouri, that’s exactly what’s been happening for more than a decade.

Training service dogs requires a lengthy time commitment and it can be difficult to find people that are both willing and realistically able to make it. 

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

A motion for judgment has been filed in a lawsuit accusing the state of violating Sunshine Laws for refusing to provide information related to Missouri executions.

The filing seeks to expedite a lawsuit filed earlier this year by stating there is no dispute in the core facts of the case, which calls on the court to order the Department of Corrections to release details about the drugs used in lethal injections. It also seeks to identify the pharmacies and laboratories that create and test the drugs.

Despite possible or pending investigations into how the state carried out executions by the state auditor, the legislature, two state Boards of Pharmacy, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. attorney’s office, the state of Missouri has shown no signs of holding off on next week's execution.

Lawyers representing inmate Herbert Smulls are hoping the courts will stay his execution for 60 days, so that some of these investigations can play out. Smulls is scheduled to be put to death on Jan. 29 for the 1991 shooting of Stephen and Florence Honickman.

Flickr |neil conway

Updated 1/14/14 4:43 pm with news of scheduled hearing and Speaker Tim Jones' response.

Several state lawmakers are calling for an investigation into how the Missouri Department of Corrections has carried out executions in the previous months.

via Flickr/Nottingham Vet School

Lawyers representing death row inmates have filed a complaint with the Missouri Board of Pharmacy, citing St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon’s investigation from earlier this week.

On Tuesday, we reported that the Department of Corrections has been obtaining its execution drug from an out-of-state compounding pharmacy that isn't licensed to do business in Missouri. Under normal circumstances, the pharmacist could be guilty of a felony.

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

In an investigation spanning the past few months, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon has discovered the state of Missouri may be ignoring its own laws in carrying out the death penalty by buying execution drugs from a pharmacy not licensed to do business in Missouri.

As we’ve reported in previous months, a shortage of willing drug suppliers led Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to direct the state to adopt a controversial new execution method.

(file)

Prison inmates in Missouri set a new record this year for growing produce for food pantries and other nonprofits across the state.

The Restorative Justice Garden Program oversees gardens at 20 prisons and three probation and parole facilities in Missouri.  Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi says inmates grew 163 tons of produce this year, a new record.

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

A month ago, St. Louis Public Radio reported on the questionable manner in which the state of Missouri got ahold of its potential execution drug. Now Missouri has a new plan to go ahead with two upcoming executions, but the process is anything but open.

Updated 11/14/13 3:24 p.m.

Veronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Two weeks ago, Gov. Jay Nixon instructed the Missouri Department of Corrections to come up with a new procedure for carrying out lethal injections.

On Tuesday, the department announced that it had chosen a new execution drug: pentobarbital. But the state also made a change that will end up making it harder, if not impossible, to know where the drugs come from.

(Veronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

On Friday, Governor Jay Nixon postponed the execution of an inmate that was set for later this month. That execution was going to be carried out using propofol, a common anesthetic that has never been used in a lethal injection before. So why the change in plans?

Mo. Dept of Corrections via sunshine request.

Updated 10/9/2013 6:42

The Missouri Department of Corrections has announced that it will be returning some of its propofol to its supplier, as the company requested almost a year ago.

But questions remain on how the state obtained the drug.

Propofol is a widely-used medical anesthetic, but the Mo. Dept. of Corrections is planning to use it for lethal injection. Missouri's Oct. 23 and Nov. 20 executions would be the first time the drug has ever been used for capital punishment.

gurney
(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

Governor Jay Nixon said Missouri will be moving forward with two executions later this year, in spite of objections from the American Civil Liberties Union and the European Union.

The executions could have a very real impact on hospitals throughout the United States, as the European Union considers possible export limits of the drug as part of its anti-capital punishment policies. Most propofol comes from Europe, where its leading manufacturer only wants it used for medical purposes.

(via Office of Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon)

The former director of Missouri's 21 adult prisons has been shot and killed.

Tom Clements, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections since 2011, was shot and killed at his Colorado Springs-area home on Tuesday night. The shooter was still at large Wednesday.

The El Paso County sheriff's office says Clements was shot when he answered his front door around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. A family member called to report the shooting. Clements was dead when officers arrived at his home.

Albrecht Dürer / Wikimedia Commons

The American Civil Liberties Union says it will keep fighting against Missouri's new constitutional amendment on prayer after a federal judge dismissed its initial lawsuit.
 

(Courtesy City of St. Louis)

The St. Louis Division of Corrections has hired an acting commissioner, a job that has potential for permanence - that is, if the preceding commissioner is not successful in appealing his termination.

(via Flickr/Neil Conway)

Two lawsuits involving the use of motorized wheelchairs in Missouri prisons have been settled.

Jeffrey Rogers and Andrew Madden are inmates at the Jefferson City Correctional Center.  They had filed suit because state Department of Corrections policy only allowed use of manual wheelchairs, and other inmates were assigned to push them around.  Tony Rothert is with the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri.