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Missouri Gov. Greitens to join other state leaders in drawing attention to corrections workers

Gov. Eric Greitens greets guests at his residence he was sworn into office in January.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
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Gov. Eric Greitens greets guests at his residence he was sworn into office in January.

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.

Greitens spokesman Parker Briden said the governor will work alongside a group of officers at the Algoa Correctional Center near Jefferson City.

"He's going to be walking with corrections officers, doing what they do every day," Briden said, adding that the governor believes the best way to understand a problem is to work alongside those "on the front lines."

"We've heard from corrections officers for a long time that there are issues within our corrections system," he said, "that there's low morale, that there are people who need to feel reinvigorated, because they do perform a really important public safety operation."

The Department of Corrections has been under scrutiny for several months after reports of widespread harassment and retaliation against employees from supervisors and coworkers.

Greitens hired a new agency head, Anne Precythe, earlier this year, and signed an executive order in June that's a directive to "fix the system."

A special Missouri House committee released a list of recommendations earlier this year for improving the state's corrections system. But some current and former officers who spoke to St. Louis Public Radio said most of the recommendations had been in place for years and were having little to no effect.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

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Missouri Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a proud alumnus of the University of Mississippi (a.k.a., Ole Miss), and has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off the old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Mason, and their cat, Honey.
Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.