Friday, January 9, 2009

Gov.-elect Nixon Names Col. Stephen L. Danner Designee for Adjutant General

Gov. Jay Nixon's Office Release

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov.-elect Jay Nixon today announced his intention to appoint Col. Stephen L. Danner, of Hollister, to the position of Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard. As Adjutant General, Col. Danner will hold the rank of Brigadier General and will oversee the operations of the Army and Air National Guard units assigned to the state by the federal government.

“When disaster strikes, Missourians count on the National Guard to be ready to respond,” Gov.-elect Nixon said. “Steve Danner has the training, experience and leadership skills to ensure that the Guard performs at the highest level whenever duty calls. Having served overseas, Steve also understands the obligations we have to our returning veterans and their families. Throughout his long career, Steve has shown that he is a dedicated, loyal and professional citizen-soldier, and he will make an excellent Adjutant General.”

“For almost 30 years, I have proudly served in the Missouri National Guard, and I firmly believe in our mission of protecting both our state and our country in times of emergency,” Col. Danner said. “I am honored to have this opportunity to continue to serve our state under Gov.-elect Nixon’s leadership. I appreciate the confidence Gov.-elect Nixon has shown in me, and I look forward to working closely with our next Commander in Chief to make sure that our state is prepared for any challenges we might face in the years to come.”

Col. Danner has served in the U.S. military for more than 30 years, first enlisting as a combat engineer in 1972 and continuing on active duty through 1974. Col. Danner joined the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in 1981, and his assignments have included tours with the 35th Engineer Brigade, the 135th Field Artillery Brigade, U.S. Army Headquarters-Europe and Staff Headquarters-Missouri Army National Guard.

Col. Danner served as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Missouri National Guard from 1998 to 2000; as the Commander of the 140th Regiment at Ft. Leonard Wood from 2002 to 2004; and as Assistant Adjutant General from 2004 to 2005. From 2005 to 2007, Col. Danner was activated in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, during which he served as Command Judge Advocate with the 35th Area Support Group in Balad, Iraq.

Upon his return from Iraq, Col. Danner was named the state’s Staff Judge Advocate, with responsibility for serving as special staff legal counsel to the Adjutant General and overseeing about 25 attorneys and legal assistants. Throughout his career, Col. Danner has received several military awards, including the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal and the National Defense Medal with Two Bronze Service Stars.

In addition to his service with the National Guard, Col. Danner has held a variety of positions in both the public and private sectors. Col. Danner served in the Missouri State House of Representatives from 1982 to 1987 and in the State Senate from 1990 to 1994. From 1980 to 1982, he was legal counsel to the Speaker of the Missouri State House of Representatives, and from 1989 to 1990, he served as Deputy Lieutenant Governor and Chief of Staff to then-Lieutenant Gov. Mel Carnahan. Col. Danner also has served an administrative law judge for the Missouri Department of Transportation and was city attorney in Chillicothe. He continues to practice law and operates a construction and management company that has employed as many as 146 individuals.

Col. Danner earned his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1977 and his juris doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law in 1980. Col. Danner is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. He also received a Masters in Strategic Studies from the Army War College in 2004.

Col. Danner, 55, has four children and one grandchild and resides with his wife, Kathleen Steele Danner, in Hollister.

Approximately 11,000 men and women serve in Army and Air National Guard units in about 65 communities across Missouri. On the state level, the Guard’s role is to respond in times of disaster and emergency. The Guard also routinely deploys its forces worldwide in support of the Army and Air Force. The Governor appoints the Adjutant General with the advice and consent of the State Senate.

Senator Kit Bond Retirement Press Conference (Video by Jason Rosenbaum)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Missouri Recidivism Rate Decreases despite national trend

MISSOURI LEADS NATION IN REDUCING PRISON POPULATIONS
WITH DOUBLE BARREL-ATTACK ON RECIDIVISM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In contrast to the national trend, Missouri is the only
state in the country with a decreasing prison population for the third semiannual
count in a row, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. The bureau is
part of the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs.

The bureau reported this month that Missouri was one of eight states with a
decrease in its inmate prison population at midyear 2007. Missouri is the only state
that has sustained a decrease through the last three reporting periods. Missouri's
prison population decreased 2.9 percent in fiscal 2006, 2.1 percent in 2006 and 0.7
percent in fiscal 2007. The report also noted the overall U.S. prison population
continued to increase over the last three reporting periods, by 2.8 percent in fiscal
2006, 2.8 percent in 2006 and 1.6 percent in fiscal 2007.

"Missouri's success is the result of a double-barreled attack on recidivism that the
Department of Corrections and the Sentencing Advisory Commission launched in
2005," said Michael A. Wolff, judge of the Supreme Court of Missouri and
chairman of the Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission.

The first barrel is that probation officers began using enhanced sentencing
assessment reports in November 2005 that provide judges with focused
information about an individual offender's risk factors and recommended
strategies for supervising and managing offenders, Wolff said.

The department developed effective community supervision strategies and
community-based programs for less-dangerous offenders. Its data show that lower
recidivism results when judges follow the sentencing commission's
recommendations.

The second barrel is a program that improves the transition from prison back to the
community. This program, called the Missouri reentry process, assists inmates
with their transition to life outside of prison and, therefore, also has aided in
decreasing recidivism rates statewide. Since the intensified program began in July
2005, the recidivism rate 12 months after release for inmates who participated in
the program was 24 percent – or 11 percent lower than the 35-percent recidivism
rate for offenders who did not participate, according to the department's data.

"Because recidivism is a threat to public safety and a burden on taxpayers, it's
crucial for the department to continue to enhance our efforts to assist offenders to
become successful," Director of Corrections Larry Crawford said. "I take pride in
the progress of the Missouri reentry process and am committed to this
philosophical change in the way we do business.

"Once this system was put into practice, we have seen a steady downward slope of
both prison populations and incidents of recidivism," Crawford added.

There are about 30,000 inmates in Missouri's prisons.

Kansas, Louisiana and Tennessee had declining prison populations in two of the
last three semi-annual population reports, and 17 other states reported one decline
in prison population in the last three semi-annual population reports. The Bureau
of Justice Statistics gathers prison population data every six months and its state-
to-state comparisons are accurate, though the reported data are nearly a year old
when they are published. The complete report is available at
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/welcome.html.


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Nixon to slash 150 state Jobs

David Lieb , Missouri Political Correspondent for the Associated Press launched this bombshell today:

Jefferson City -- Gov.-elect Jay Nixon issued pink slips to about 150 state employees Wednesday, ending their jobs the moment he takes office next week.

The termination letters were sent primarily to employees in Cabinet-level, senior staff or policy-making positions, said Nixon spokesman Oren Shur.

The form letters tell employees they will be out of a job as of noon Monday -- the hour at which Nixon, a Democrat, is to be sworn in as the successor to Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.

In December, Nixon's gubernatorial transition team sent letters to about 600 employees whose jobs were not covered by the state merit system. Those letters asked employees to either justify their jobs or lose them.

Employees were directed to submit their resumes and cover letters through an Internet site. The Web site also asked them to describe their current job duties, their qualifications and "the importance of your current position to the mission of your agency."

Shur said Wednesday that Nixon's transition team reviewed all the applications of employees wanting to keep their jobs before sending out the termination letters.

Nixon said in an interview Tuesday that he also intends to rescind scores of appointments made by Blunt that would otherwise be awaiting Senate confirmation. Some people may get re-nominated by Nixon but many will not.

"I would expect that a new day will be noticeable," Nixon sai

Senator Kit Bond to Retire


Missouri Senator Kit Bond announced his retirement today according to
Politico


“As a sixth-generation Missourian, I have always loved our state. Through 40 years in public life I have met many wonderful people. The people I have met along the way are the reason I ran for public office and the reason I am still here,” said Bond, 69, according to his prepared remarks. “I thank the voters of Missouri who elected me to represent them. There is no greater honor. I am truly blessed to have been entrusted by them with the responsibility of public office.”

Missouri has emerged as a battleground state, after Claire McCaskill (D) defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Talent in 2006 and Barack Obama lost the state by less than 5,000 votes to John McCain in the 2008 elections. And Missouri voters just elected Jay Nixon, a Democrat, as their next governor, signaling that Bond could face a tough challenge if he ran for a fifth term.

Republicans have a deep bench in Missouri, and many prominent members are expected to consider running to succeed Bond in the Senate. The list includes former House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, former Sen. Jim Talent and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson. On the Democratic side, Rep. Russ Carnahan, son of the late governor Mel Carnahan, is a possible contender.

“In 1972, I became Missouri’s youngest governor,” Bond said. “Good friends: I have no aspiration of becoming Missouri’s oldest senator.”

In his speech, Bond called for bipartisanship in light of the worsening economy and threats abroad, and recited his legislative record on issues ranging from health care to energy policy.

“We all need President Obama and Governor Nixon to succeed,” he said. “As Ben Franklin said during another grave time in American history, ‘We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.’ We may not be threatened with literal hanging, but are in perilous times.”

Bond is one of the most senior Republicans still serving in the Senate, and holds powerful positions on the Appropriations Committee, Commerce Committee and Intelligence Committee. He has angered some on the right for his penchant for funneling hundreds of millions of dollars in pet projects to Missouri, but he won praise from his colleagues for pushing through President Bush’s electronic surveillance legislation over strong Democratic objections in the heat of the 2008 campaign season.

His style can be brash, though, and his colleagues rejected three of his bids to become chairman of the Senate Republican conference. And he has rankled feathers among some Senate Democrats for his blunt style and bomb-throwing nature.

But in his speech, Bond struck a conciliatory note.

“I thank my political adversaries for keeping me nimble, and the media for keeping me humble,” he said.
Josh Kraushaar contributed to this story

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Missouri Female Prisoners Move To New Location

Offenders Moved Into New Chillicothe Correctional Center

On October 24, 2006, Governor Matt Blunt helped break ground for the
new Chillicothe Correctional Center (CCC). The new CCC will house up to 1,636
female offenders, more than triple the old CCC capacity of 525, which was
originally constructed in 1887. The new prison will employ approximately 562
Department employees, with an estimated annual payroll of $16 million.

The new prison will also relieve overcrowding at the Women’s Eastern
Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (WERDCC) in Vandalia.
WERDCC was designed to house 1,460 female offenders. Currently, there are
over 2,000 offenders housed there. Missouri’s female prison population has
increased by 150 percent during the past 10 years. Missouri housed 1,071 female
offenders in fiscal year 1996. Currently, the Department houses 2,502 female
offenders. The opening of the new CCC will allow WERDCC to return to its
design capacity.

On Friday, December 5, 2008, the Department successfully transferred the
female offenders from the old CCC to the new CCC.

“I am pleased to announce that the move of offenders from the old
correctional facility to the new facility was complete at 5:15 a.m. this morning,”
Chillicothe Correctional Center Warden Jennifer Miller said. “This move has
been successful and without incident due to the diligent planning and preparation
of a number of staff at CCC as well as the unwavering cooperation of the
Department of Corrections’ various emergency squads and local law enforcement
officials. I am very appreciative of the many efforts and contributions made by
my staff and the support we have received from our Central Office.”

“The primary goal of the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) is
public safety,” Missouri Department of Corrections Director Larry Crawford said.
“We have done this before. In September of 2004, MDOC successfully
transferred all male offenders from the old Missouri State Penitentiary to the new
Jefferson City Correctional Center. I continue to be impressed with the team
work of MDOC staff and the success of the Department of Corrections.

“Governor Matt Blunt’s support for this new facility, along with the
support of the Missouri Legislature, has been overwhelming and very much
appreciated,” Crawford said.

For Immediate Release…

Corrections News
Missouri Department of Corrections Matt Blunt Governor
Larry Crawford Director
For further information
Contact Dean Watson,
Chief Public Information Officer
Tele: 573/522-1118
Direct FAX: 573/751-4099
P.O. Box 236
Jefferson City MO 65102
“The successful transfer of offenders from the old prison to the new
facility is a vital step towards improving public safety and the safety of the staff
and offenders. In the coming months, the Department will also relieve the
overcrowding at the Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional
Center in Vandalia.” said Division of Adult Institutions Director Tom Clements.

The new prison is located at the north end of Chillicothe off of Highway 65.

Contact information:
Chillicothe Correctional Center
3151 Litton Road
Chillicothe, Missouri 64601
(660) 646-4032


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Monday, January 5, 2009