>Users:   login   |  register       > email     > people    

Classification – The Engine That Makes Correctional Facilities Go
By Gerard J. Horgan , Superintendent, Suffolk County House of Correction MA
Published: 11/05/2012

Inmate jail
An effective classification process is crucial to a well-run facility. It is also a key to ensuring the safety of corrections professionals and inmates. Staff needs to be confident in the classification moves that are made and the inmates need to have a clear working knowledge of what is expected from them to move forward in the system. In my view, there are a number of crucial components to a successful classification plan. They are:

Initial Intake / Screening: All inmates being admitted to a facility will optimally have a screening done by classification that includes age, gender, tendency for disruptive behavior, PREA concerns, and the governing charge that caused the present incarceration. Other factors should be looked into as well including past criminal history, other pending court matters, the need for special housing, the number of prior incarcerations, previous institutional record and the inmate’s program needs. A detailed screening allows Officers, Program Staff and Medical Professionals the ability to know who they are dealing with on a daily basis. It also lets the inmates know that the facility has a good working knowledge of their background.

A Complete and Effective Policy: Every facility should have a detailed classification policy that clearly lays out the criteria for forward movement and which criminal charges will disqualify inmates for some lower security levels including minimum security and / or pre-release. The policy should also define staff responsibility, the minimum requirements for certain statuses, and the appeal process for inmates.

It is important for all staff who have frequent inmate contact to know what is involved in the classification policy and screening process. Periodic training in the criteria used in the classification policy helps ensure that the inmates don’t know more than the Officers and Caseworkers. Additionally, it will help ensure that the staff buys into the Department’s philosophy especially if their input is taken into consideration.

Individual Service Plan: Ideally, each inmate will receive a detailed and objective ISP soon after their arrival. The ISP should clearly define the criteria for movement forward and backward. A complete ISP will be a road map for the entire incarceration of the inmate. Optimally, it will have the time frame that an inmate can progress through the system and will detail the lowest level of security which the inmate can achieve. This potential progress through the system must be contingent on good institutional behavior, participation in programming and satisfactory performance in work details. Inmate should know how disciplinary reports will negatively impact their classification status and how severe the setback will be when they receive disciplinary offenses.

Successful Integration with Other Areas: No matter how well written and thought out a classification plan is, it will not be effective if it is a silo from other disciplines in the Department. Having Officers and program staff vote on inmates’ housing status at classification boards is a good way to ensure that classification is not an island from the rest of the operation. It also allows the people who interact with the inmates on a daily basis and know how their behavior the best to have a say in their movement. If the inmate frequently challenges staff and is borderline non-compliant in the housing unit, it may not result in formal discipline; however, the Officers will be able to report this to the classification board. The Officer will also be able to report if the inmate is doing the right thing and give a recommendation for positive movement forward.

Similarly, if the inmate is not giving 100% in their programming, the Social Worker or Teacher can report this to the board. If the inmate is taking his/her programs and classes seriously and is trying to have a successful reentry into society, the program staff can inform the rest of the board before a decision is made.

The facility’s Gang Intelligence Unit should also be used as a resource by classification as they will have information on the dynamics between the groups that may cause dissension and/or disruption in the units.

A good classification operation is truly the driving force of correctional facilities. It helps prisons and jails meet their goal of ensuring the safety of the staff and the inmates by giving positive incentives for good behavior and disincentives for bad behavior. If a classification plan is effectively integrated with programming, it also can assist with a lower recidivism rate as inmates will focus on programming out of self-interest that may start as wanting a better housing status but hopefully will end with them focused on their rehabilitation.

Editor's note: Corrections.com author, Gerard J. Horgan, has been the Superintendent at the Suffolk County House of Correction in Boston since 2003. He has been with the Sheriff’s Department for 24 years. A graduate of Northeastern University and Suffolk University Law School, Horgan has trained staff in inmate rights and civil liability and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts where he teaches Corrections and Criminal Justice. He can be reached at ghorgan@scsdma.org.

Other articles by Horgan:


  1. landscaper61 on 05/05/2020:

    I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I stumbled across this during my search for something concerning this. Resurge Review

  2. landscaper61 on 05/05/2020:

    Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share. Appreciate it! Leptitox Review

  3. matd on 05/05/2020:

    Great article a must read xtreme keto boost review

  4. matd on 05/05/2020:

    What is this all about tell me, and did you guys try this new method for weight loss < a href = "https://goodmenproject.com/health/xtreme-keto-boost-review-new-information-released/">xtreme keto boost

  5. matd on 05/05/2020:

    What is this all about tell me, and did you guys try this new method for weight loss

  6. matd on 05/05/2020:

    What is this all about tell me, and did you guys try this new method for weight loss https://goodmenproject.com/health/xtreme-keto-boost-review-new-information-released/

  7. Greyson felix on 04/24/2020:

    Usually, people who are above 60, have diabetes, hypertension or are smoking will face a severe infection compared to the ones who don’t have these problems. Pandemic Survival Book Review 2020 suggests if you do not take medication at the right time, the infection starts spreading in your lungs. To know more about TT Pandemic Survival Book Review Checkout: https://twitchtrending.com/pandemic-survival-book-review/

  8. athenterry on 04/22/2020:

    LeptoConnect Review is for those who are looking forward to getting rid of the stored body fat yet haven’t any effective solution so far. While there are hundreds of products available online, most of them don’t completely help you to get back in the desired shape.

  9. fionabasil0109 on 04/16/2020:

    There are numerous websites that recommend penis exercises to increase the length or girth of the penis. The rationale behind these exercises is that repetitively rubbing the penis creates "micro-tears" in tissues that look engorged when healed. There is one popular technique called jelqing in which the thumb and forefinger are wrapped around the penis to repetitively stretch the shaft from the base to the tip for 20 minutes every day. Despite claims to the contrary, there has never been any evidence that physical exercise of any sort, including jelqing, can increase penis size. In fact, the persistent rough handling of the penis can cause injury or scarring.

  10. fionabasil0109 on 04/16/2020:

    The need for penis-enlargement surgery is rare. Surgery is typically reserved for men whose penises don't function normally because of a birth defect or injury. Although some surgeons offer cosmetic penis enlargement using various techniques, it's controversial and considered by many to be unnecessary and in some cases permanently harmful. These surgeries should be considered experimental. There aren't enough studies of penis-enlargement surgery to give an accurate picture of risks and benefits.

  11. consumerscompanionblog on 04/09/2020:

    Numerous people who have been using the supplement have posted glowing CogniBiotics reviews in which they mention that they feel more energetic and active in general. It helps them rediscover the lost zeal for life.

  12. consumerscompanionblog on 04/08/2020:

    Resurge Review – Ingredients, Benefits & Side Effects Diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease are some of the major consequences that can be acquired resultantly. Resurge is a 2-minute after-dinner routine that has claimed to deliver miraculous results by effectively dealing with the above-stated issues without requiring any lifestyle change on your part.

  13. hamiltonlindley on 03/19/2020:

    Hamilton loves books about unicorns, storms, and cubicles. He lives in Waco with his cat named Mr. Bojangles. Before his work as an attorney, Hamilton was a leprechaun chaser. His all-time record is three pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. He was forced to give up the gold in a dispute with a rival hobbit. He spends his free time tripping out on the smallest details, none of which are important He likes doing the things with the ball and scoring the points. He pays attention to the green of your eyes, even when it is not Saint Patrick’s Day. He is not Irish. Hamilton Lindley has fun plans for people in need. Whether your need a dreamcatcher for your dreams or a tape dispenser to put your life back together, he can be there for you to yell at. There are times when it is surprising that he has any friends at all. But thankfully he does have a few. He drives a Dodge Stratus. People respect him, except at home.

  14. johnvicks on 03/12/2020:

    leptitox https://www.newhealthera.com/leptitox It's one of the many stuff that make me an awesome nutrition train. Others have tried to coax me to talk about customers of mine that they recognise. Of route, I do not, despite the fact that they are own family individuals

  15. fionabasil0109 on 02/03/2020:

    I just pray that one-day heartbreaking events like this will pass and will end. septic tank pumping jacksonville fl Blood sugar premier Supplement

  16. luislotte56 on 01/30/2020:

    Cool you write, the information is very good and interesting, I’ll give you a link to my site. bmp to jpg Leptitox Reviews

  17. luislotte56 on 01/30/2020:

    Actually I read it yesterday but I had some thoughts about it and today I wanted to read it again because it is very well written. ai to jpg Massive Male Plus

  18. tanyajack on 01/24/2020:

    I have recently started a blog, the info you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work Tree Service Pensacola, Florida Massive male plus

  19. zaclesky on 01/14/2020:

    Fleur Alpha Cream While ordering a free sample you Fleur Alpha Cream might be requested provide your card or paypal number. https://www.fitdiettrends.com/fleur-alpha-cream-ca/

  20. houwrang on 01/04/2020:

    When I began developing my Body Fat Meltdown weight loss program for women a lot of people told me Id make more sales if I would only market it to everyone men, women, older, younger, everybody. While this is undoubtedly true I couldnt ethically do that because I know that each of these groups of people have their own unique set of needs and desires when it comes to physical fitness and weight loss. https://healthperfect.net/leptitox/

  21. lifetime on 11/17/2019:

    Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more. Lost Book of Remedies

  22. lifetime on 11/17/2019:

    I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts. Leptitox Review

  23. lifetime on 11/17/2019:

    I think it could be more general if you get a football sports activity Manifestation Magic Review

  24. lifetime on 11/17/2019:

    I think it could be more general if you get a football sports activity Flat Belly Fix

  25. lifetime on 11/17/2019:

    It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it! pdf to jpg

  26. lifetime on 11/17/2019:

    I surely acquiring more difficulties from each surprisingly more little bit of it bmp to jpg

  27. lifetime on 11/17/2019:

    I enjoy it for creating the details, keep up the truly amazing perform continuing png to jpg

  28. lifetime on 11/17/2019:

    Here at this site really the fastidious material collection so that everybody can enjoy a lot. ai to jpg

  29. mywifiext on 09/12/2019:

    Web Designing training in Chandigarh Great site, thanks! I really like it.

  30. mywifiext on 09/11/2019: Really interesting info, thanks for sharing.

  31. mywifiext on 08/26/2019:

    Thanks, really interesting post. routerlogin.net

  32. mywifiext on 08/21/2019:

    I really enjoy this site cause its worth with the useful info..thank dear..! Digital Marketing Course in Chandigarh

  33. mywifiext on 08/14/2019:

    www.mywifiext.net login Reading this post was a great pleasure, thanks for your efforts.

  34. mywifiext on 04/03/2019: I found this is an informative and interesting blog so i think it is very useful and knowledgeable. thanks for sharing.

  35. mywifiext on 03/30/2019:

    Netgear wn3000rp setup Thank Dear, It is very helpful post ..!

  36. mywifiext on 03/30/2019:

    mywifiext.net new extender setup Great site, thanks! I really like it.

  37. sujiwo tejalodon on 03/22/2019:

    Dalam memainkan dominoqq, kadang mudah kadang sulit untuk memenangkan judi tersebut, tapi anda tak perlu khawatir sekarang karna anda bisa mendapatkan tips bagus berhasil menang dominoqq melalui link berikut ini http://www.olivier-ledoux.com/tips-bagus-berhasil-menang-main-qq-domino/

  38. sujiwo tejalodon on 03/22/2019:

    Dalam memainkan dominoqq, kadang mudah kadang sulit untuk memenangkan judi tersebut, tapi anda tak perlu khawatir sekarang karna anda bisa mendapatkan tips bagus berhasil menang dominoqq melalui link berikut ini http://www.olivier-ledoux.com/tips-bagus-berhasil-menang-main-qq-domino/

  39. sujiwo tejalodon on 02/25/2019:

    Situs poker online terpercaya dengan berbagai fitur layanan terbaik dan bonus - bonus besar saat ini bukan hanya impian saja, karna di unblockgamees anda dapat merasakannya. Untuk mengenali unbklockgamees lebih lanjut yuk klik link berikut ini Situs Poker Online Terpercaya

  40. togelmaster on 02/18/2019:

    Sukabet situs agen daftar poker terpercaya di indonesia yang telah menjadi pilihan dari banyaknya pecinta judi poker di Indonesia. Dengan menyediakan permainan judi poker uang asli dan didukung oleh berbagai bank terpercaya di Indonesia seperti BNI serta sangat mudah di menangkan untuk informasi lebih lanjut kalian dapat mengunjungi, link berikut ini poker online

  41. donorma42 on 11/30/2018:

    On the suggestion of a friend I did some research on weight loss. I did search about it and found a good number of approaches to this thought. Some are difficult to do and some are easy. diet pill forskolin

  42. conman123454321 on 11/17/2018:

    I still don't get what classifications are they talking about? I think that it has something to do with https://www.rush-my-essay.com/ and the way it goes is just beyond my thoughts. Please tell me more about it.

Login to let us know what you think

User Name:   


Forgot password?

correctsource logo

Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of The Corrections Connection User Agreement
The Corrections Connection ©. Copyright 1996 - 2021 © . All Rights Reserved | 15 Mill Wharf Plaza Scituate Mass. 02066 (617) 471 4445 Fax: (617) 608 9015