JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Changes in Missouri’s prisons appear to be defying a court order and costing taxpayers millions. It surrounds a landmark jury verdict the Missouri Department of Corrections continues to ignore.
Interest keeps climbing on the now $124 million taxpayers owe for corrections officers’ back pay. Meanwhile, the state appears to be continuing to short officers’ pay.
“The state is doubling down on their bad decision not to let officers clock in and clock out when they get on the job,” said Attorney Gary Burger.
Burger won a landmark verdict in August 2018. A jury ordered officers to be paid for every minute they work, rather than starting their time when they reach their post.
Officers had asked for a timeclock at the front of the prison, instead of making them collect equipment, go through checkpoints, and gather intelligence before starting their paid time at their post.
Fox 2 has learned that time clocks are now going in but not at the front door of prisons.
“What they’re doing instead is putting these timeclocks back in the bowels of the institution,” Burger said.
Instead of one timeclock at each prison, the Missouri Corrections Officer Association said it could take as many as 25 to equip each post.
“It’s going to be another failed system,” said Gary Gross, an MCOA spokesman. “It’s going to have to be challenged. It does not comply with the court order, in our opinion.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Corrections has stopped talking about it ever since Fox 2 started keeping track of the interest that climbs by the second. Spokesperson Karen Pojmann has ignored questions about the timeclocks in July, again in September, and now this month, all while an appeals court just last week affirmed the court order and judgment.