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Lawmakers question response to Missouri prisons complaints

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri lawmakers are questioning the timing of administrators’ response to claims of widespread harassment in state prisons.

Outgoing Division of Adult Institutions Director Dave Dormire told a panel of House lawmakers Thursday that top officials met last summer to discuss the larger issue of complaints.

But Republican Rep. Jim Hansen says problems in the department had been going on for years before that.

House lawmakers are investigating after the Kansas City alternative weekly The Pitch reported on harassment and discrimination claims by prison employees. Some say they were retaliated against.

The paper reported the state has paid more than $7.5 million in related settlements and judgments from 2012 to 2016.