Prison Classification

Over the years, the United States of America had witnessed increased rates in crimes. In turn, the number of prisoners admitted to penitentiary had been growing. With the numbers going up, a good and effective prison classification is definitely needed to help the state maintain these offenders.
There have been several prison classification systems that had been implemented all over the country. This paper discusses the typical prison classification scheme used by most states in the country. This study also gives light on the benefits that the prisoners as well as staff will gain from an efficient prison classification system.

The common idea of prison classification system is explained comprehensively in this study in order to gain a better understanding of the prisoners conditions as well as the problems faced by the government and prisons. Recommendations to further improve the scheme have also been illustrated in this paper in order to make the prison classification system more efficient and valuable to the offenders in jail, as well as the prison staff and the government in general.

The population of inmates has been growing dramatically and an effective scheme would help administrators accomplish things regarding the warehousing of the prisoners and all their other needs. Over the past several years, a remarkable growth have been observed in the number of adult prison system or classification that make use of objective external categorizations systems to decide the suitable custody levels of prisoners. There have also been numerous systems that have utilized internal categorization or classification systems in order to guide the program, housing and work project decisions to further promote prisoner management at the facility point or level. In order to assess the inmate risks to be able to balance the needs of the prisoners and the security requirements, prison classification is the commonly method used. There are several prison classification models that are widely promoted throughout different states. This supposed prison classification aims to improve impartiality and trim down the costs for prisoner programs. The prison classification system hasnt been totally effective in governing significant decisions that influence several fiscal matters including those bed space, staffing levels, and programming.

For the last ten years and so, these prison classification systems have been progressively pressured to enhance their system of sorting and classifying the inmates in accordance to work, custody, as well as programming needs (Kupers 2009). The prison classification scheme is deemed to be the chief management tool for allotting limited and inadequate inmate resources efficiently. Intensified by overcrowding and litigation, these classification systems also aim to minimize the probable occurrence of violence or even an escape. Much has been expected in prison classification since it is believed to provide superior accountability as well as project future inmate bed-space essentials. An appropriately functioning prison classification system is perceived as the brain or center of prison management.
As early as the 1980s, objective prison classification schemes were already adopted by several states in the United States. However it was only in the late 1990s that significant improvements were made in these classification schemes. There have been reductions in terms of the level of overclassification and custody matters were made more consistent and criteria for custody judgment have been authenticated. The institutional protection for both the inmates and staff were enhanced during the improvement period and the program needs of the prisoners were assessed more systematically. However as years have gone by, prison classification seemed to have not provided the fruitful outcome expected of it.

Appropriate prison classification is central to maintain an efficient and secured prison facility operation. Inmates vary, possessing a diversity of behavioral manners and styles, treatment requests, and states of psychological condition. For the reason that numerous inmates are unsuited with either the people that they share space with or their immediate prison surroundings, appropriate classification system can reduce prison infringement and keep a more protected environment for the staff and inmates of a particular prison warehouse. Object classification measures are often used since intake units cope with both large variety and number of cases as well as the law necessitates institutions to give out the least restrictive type of punishment to a criminal or lawbreaker whilst securing that he or she is safe. The course of prison classification system covers a number of different stages such as intake assessment, then initial classification, placement, plus reclassification.

In the process of initial assessment and intake assessment, all lawbreakers upon intake are primarily subject to be placed in a maximum security placement. As soon as the initial assessment and classification evaluation is done and have been concluded, the criminal will then be assigned a final security level which can be minimum, maximum, medium, or super-maximum imprisonment.

A camp-like atmosphere is how a minimum security in its idyllic sort could be described. Criminals serve their condemnation in huts, portables, rooms, cabins, communal dormitories or space. In a minimum security level there are typically no fences giving the criminals the chance to leave if they so inclined. However, escape in such security level is unusual since during the evaluation offenders and criminals that are most likely to escape are identified and will be under proper classification assessment and designated correspondingly in a higher security level. On the other hand, the medium security level shares some of the features of a maximum security level but not on the same extent or degree. Medium security prison and facilities are a bit expensive to maintain and operate compared to that of a minimum security. Offenders are secured through double fences or high fences. There are also motions detectors, armed defense patrols as well as armed guard towers, plus a pass system of mobility. A maximum security level has all the elements of a medium security an in addition to all that, this level has round-the-clock supervising and watching, accountability dealings and measures, electronic monitoring, as well as separation and isolation of misbehaved and grave inmates who present security dangers or risks. These types of prisons are also amongst the most expensive when it comes to maintaining and operating.

The focus of the initial assessment process is not so much on the integration of the criminal to the sentence plan accordingly and not too much on the risk assessment itself. This initial evaluation and assessment comprises in a short introduction and basic course and orientation to the facility, which explains the fundamental rules and regulation of the penitentiary and what is most expected from the criminal or offender. An overview of the criminals relevant files and records are presented as well as a health evaluation and assessment.

Then, the considerations of particular serious concerns are presented which includes several health related concerns such as medications and heart conditions. If a criminal needs special medical treatment and care like in a case of asthma, sickness, broken bones, and a heart condition, he or she will be submitted on to a medical unit. While a psychiatric unit that is available will be taking care of the concerns of the inmates whose problems are psychological in nature like desperate and suicidal inclinations. Aside from all these concerns, there are also considerations given when it comes to educational plans and programs as well as substance abuse treatment opportunities for the criminals. There are also other several programs that the offender can get help and benefit from.

The primary sentence plan is laid out, which simplifies and explains particular significant deadlines and dates like day-parole, eligibility for a parole, total parole and the criminals WED or warrant expiration dateday. Then the administration of the criminals sentence is also given as part of the initial assessment.

The next stage in a prison classification scheme is the placement. This placement stage takes place after a complete and wide-ranging risk assessment process that is fully met. An administrative interview is held and the initial assessment (which was thoroughly explicated above), then the assessment and evaluation of static elements or factors. At this point, risk assessment scales like the Custody Rating Scale is used in order to categorize the criminal or offender on an extensive range of static risk aspects that decide his or her risk level. These include previous convictions, past cases of violence, employment history, preceding prison misbehaviors and substance abuse concerns. And then the dynamic risk aspects are also considered such as anger management issues or hostility problems, antisocial way of behaving, peer involvements, family surroundings, and emotional conditions. Strong history of violence, young age, disciplinary matters, dropout from programs, and gang membership are some of the common factors that are particularly predictive of a prison delinquency. Contrary to popular beliefs, factors such as escape history, severity of felony or crime, drug abuse in jail, and time left to serve the sentence, are not predictive of an inmates prison misbehavior. The process must be completely automated in orders for decisions to be put to records and assessed for reliability. After all this comes the final and general assessment that incorporates all the information gathered and a risk rating plus custody placement degree or level shall be given. This whole procedure could take about six to eight weeks to finish.

Regular reclassification is needed to ensure that inmates are classified accurately and up to date. Objective Offender Classification needs to be done regularly, on a yearly or earlier basis (Alexander 2008). This is to ensure that the offenders and their individual differences are taken into account with the intention of preventing clumping of all inmates who fall under a broad risk category within the exact same level of custody or treatment. Most importantly, the core tenets of Andrews Psychology of Criminal Conduct on which objective offender classification is based, is enhanced with additional sensitivity and reaction into the process of risk assessment and classification. The process of reclassification puts more emphasis on the dynamic factors rather than static factors. Factors concerned with previous offenses and behavioral history may actually have slight value evaluating the risk that has or learning to become more pro-social as offenders adapt, change and learn to new life conditions and situations. Successfully changed offenders who underwent treatment groups who may be performing very well in their workshops and straight As in their educational courses could continue to function better anywhere but in a maximum-security facility. It may be for backsliding offense or cost-savings. These features should be recognized when reassessing individuals, as it may be more efficient for the changed inmate to be placed in a lesser-security site in where there is a greater chance of socializing with more positive peers plus access to rehabilitative programs. LSI-R is one good instrument for reclassification which evaluates even subtle changes in threat level, learning and institutional adjustment given the classification into a broader range of dynamic risk factors.

Structured and well organized programs are needed in order to maintain the inmates. It is essential to be fully ready and committed in undertaking the prison classification scheme. The classification system hasnt been fully effective but with appropriate improvements all the problems can be solved. Delay in some of the stages of the system has been a constant problem for most cases. No better alternative is suggested but to simply improved and make the system fully enhanced. A classification task force is proposed in order to make the system developed (Brandon 2001). This task force shall examine the current system and identify the issues and questions concerning the prison classification scheme. It is after that, that practical resolutions can be made to address the present problems. Implementation and evaluation plans should be developed as well and the proposed instruments and policies shall be put to a test.

Several states had suggested that a revalidation of their prison classification was needed in order to operate better. This includes assessing the potential impact and effect of sentencing and different legislations, and validates the categorization instruments for female inmates and better separation of the aggressive inmates in order to update and refine the system. An initiative to improve the system also includes regional and national training opportunities for objective classification. A more systematic, objective, and internal prison classification system is much needed in order to guide the program, housing, and promote improved prison management. In addition to that a well comprehensive system that will require less expenditure and fewer resources is needed in order to continuously maintain the system. More research, data, and planning is needed to continuously faced the different challenges that the prison classification system poses.


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