September 24, 2019

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Inmate Classification

Gordon Graham
Category: Corrections

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for my friends in corrections and it’s about the importance of inmate classification.

Performing the classification process early, and continuously, helps ensure a safe and secure facility.

Classification is intended to identify security and health issues by using a screening instrument. Performing the classification process early, and continuously, helps ensure a safe and secure facility.  

Some screening criteria questions might seem unimportant at first. But, watch an individual’s behavior during the arrest and intake process closely. Look for insights into their mental state, their risk of safety to others or themselves, prior violent or assaultive behavior, and so on.  

Jail facilities are unique and so are classification plans. But classification should determine certain things about how an inmate is managed. Things like an inmate’s housing assignment and eligibility for work should be dependent on classification.  The classification process also helps separate inmates who are at risk of being victimized by potential predators. 

It’s also a way to keep certain individuals separated. Like rival gang members or confidential informants. 

Classification should be done at intake, during housing decisions, and at a minimum of every 30 days thereafter. The classification system should include a way for staff to override a housing or classification decision when appropriate. 

And finally, any staff member should be able to request a review of an inmate’s classification.  

We can’t always predict future inmate behavior. But past behavior, combined with current information, is the best predictor we have. This is why classification is such a critical function in the management of the inmates in your facility. 

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off. 

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