Gov. Mike Parson signed an executive order, his first of the new year, to expand media use in Missouri’s correctional facilities Thursday.
Executive Order 21-01 eliminated the Citizens Advisory Committee on Corrections (CAC) and terminated a duplicative executive order originally signed by Gov. Bob Holden relating to inter-departmental coordination.
Parson also modernized an earlier order which disallowed video games in Missouri’s correctional facilities. It increased the media content available to inmates, as long as it meets department censorship requirements and staff and institutional safety are not compromised.
“Since the beginning of my administration, we have looked for new ways to improve the efficiency of state government and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy,” Parson said. “Executive Order 21-01 terminates past Executive Orders that are no longer needed and modernizes electronic usage in correctional facilities to meet the technological needs of today while still maintaining common sense restrictions.”
When Executive Order 05-06 was signed by then-Gov. Matt Blunt, Missouri was one of only three states that allowed video games in correctional facilities. But the use of media in correctional facilities has changed since then, Parson said.
“Media players can be an effective tool to improve institutional and staff safety by providing offenders with constructive and educational activities, as well as enhance rehabilitative services by affording offenders additional educational and vocational opportunities,” the order said.
The CAC was originally established by Gov. Bob Holden in 2003 as a way to examine offender grievances and make recommendations to resolve those grievances. Parson eliminated the CAC because it had fulfilled its objective, establishing a grievance unit and grievance officers within the Department of Corrections. No one had been appointed to the commission since 2012, according to the order.
Executive Order 03-11, which was also terminated, directed the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Department of Conservation to coordinate rule development and scientific data and analysis. This function has since been fulfilled by Section 536.175, RSMo and Executive Order 17-03, making 03-11 duplicative and unnecessary, according to the order.