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Inmate Classification, Methods of

Inmate classification is a procedure in which incarcerated offenders are placed into varying custody levels based on a professional assessment. Each custody level is designed to match an individual offender’s needs with available correctional resources. Classification based on custody level assigns offenders to specific facilities and dictates the level of supervision and treatment they will receive. This entry focuses on types of classification methods, the implementation of classification decisions, and potential barriers to classification.

History of Inmate Classification

Historically, inmates were segregated to prevent harm to themselves and others and to ensure the safety of facility staff. It was thought that full segregation of offenders would increase security and management and decrease the likelihood of recidivism. As the incarcerated population grew over time, segregation was no longer ...

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