Shown here is the currently closed Crossroads Correctional Center.

Defunct prison to provide trainees real setting

"The training piece of things always sounds good on paper. But until people actually engage somewhere in the environment involving that setting, it has a limited benefit. This is an excellent use of your facility,” Rep. Lane Roberts said.

Plans to reopen the Crossroads Correctional Center as a training center for corrections staff continue taking shape as the initiative recommended by Gov. Mike Parson makes its way through the Missouri House of Representatives.

During a house budget committee meeting last Wednesday, Missouri Department of Corrections Director of Budget and Financing Trevor Foley elaborated on a $671,000 plan announced earlier this month to reopen the defunct Crossroads Correctional Center.

“This is a decision item recommended by the governor to convert the Crossroads Correctional Center, which was consolidated with the Western Missouri Correctional Center two years ago, to a training academy for department of corrections staff with residential capability,” Foley said. “Currently, all of our institutional staff receive their training in a classroom setting. We believe we can improve the quality of their training by training them in an environment that looks like the ones they are going to be working in.”

Since officially closing in the summer of 2019, following an extensive relocation effort and security upgrades so WMCC can house maximum-security prisoners, CCC operates with a skeleton crew maintaining the grounds. Under the plan recommended by Gov. Parson, corrections department trainees will undergo a much different training process than their predecessors. Instead of learning in a classroom environment, CCC will provide them with a place to sleep, train and learn vital skills. 

“The idea is to give the officers a real setting for this so when they’re faced with this, they will know not only what to do, but have some sense of their surroundings they’ll be operating in,” said Rep. Lane Roberts, who previously served as the Joplin Police Department Chief, then the Missouri Department of Public Safety before taking office in 2019. “… The training piece of things always sounds good on paper. But until people actually engage somewhere in the environment involving that setting, it has a limited benefit. This is an excellent use of your facility.”

Along with $671,000 to convert the facility, Foley said an additional $300,000 will be needed annually to continue operating in the training facility. He expects the state to see a return on their investment by 2027. 

“You will be able to learn how to do a cell search or cell extraction from an actual cell as opposed to trying to demonstrate that sort of thing,” Foley said. “Plus, a significant portion of our training operations expenses are lodging for staff that have to go to one of our three regional centers. We believe by converting one of the housing units to a residential space, the trainees will be able to stay onsite, which will significantly reduce our lodging costs.”

 

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