Prison classification can be defined as a method of appraising inmate risks, in an attempt to attain and maintain a state of equilibrium between security requirements and program needs. The safety of jail facilities is dependent on inmate classification. Almost every institution in existence has some form of classification for various operations. Ensuring efficient classification is crucial for safe operations in prison facilities. Over the last decade, emphases on upgrading prison classification methods and management have been contracted. Since inmates are heterogeneous, they possess varying character and behavioral traits. For this reason, many prisoners are incompatible with individuals they divvy their living place with. Without proper classification, the environment for inmates and staff would be flagitious.
There are several purposes for the significance and need of prison classification. Safety is the overall purpose of classification. The safety of inmates and staff is dependent on the legitimate identification, categorization and supervision of brutal and dangerous inmates. Despite the presence of life threatening individuals, good prison classification plays a major role in creating an orderly and controlled environment free from anxiety. Protection of inmate’s rights is another vital purpose of classification. Inmates like any other individuals have rights. Classification is one of the strategies employed in safeguarding their rights. In order to avoid deterioration by inmates, classification facilitates access to rehabilitation programs by being placed in a less constraining environment. Classification offers an avenue for rational decision making. By so doing, the jail staff is in a position to administer rehabilitation programs effectively. Through classification control and management of inmates, conduct is enhanced. This aims at governing the various rewards and punishments offenders are liable to.
As a result of proper classification, prison facilities are able to able to acquire data which is significant for planning and resource allocation. Efficiently matching inmates with required resources is vital for effective resource allocation. In cases of over classification or under classification, wastage is inevitable. This result in extra costs incurred and foreshortened efficiency.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has classified inmates according to various custodial levels. These levels include close, medium, minimum one, minimum two and minimum three. Inmates classified under close possess the highest risk. Those under minimum three poses the least risk. Classification according to custodial levels is subject to several regulation statuses. These statuses include death row, maximum, intensive, safe keeper, administrative, disciplinary and protective. These statuses are geared towards governing the exclusive rights and freedoms of inmates. All these classifications are made for the goal of propagating safety and maintaining order in prison facilities. However, it is significant to identify that prisons are classified according to the security level handled. These security levels act as a determinant of the extent to which an inmate should be isolated from the civilian community.
One of the security levels is the maximum security unit. It is comprised with cells whose sliding doors are remotely controlled. This level of security inhabits the most dangerous inmates. Inmates confined to this level of security pose a threat to the safety of correctional staff, other inmates and the public. Unlike the maximum level, the minimum security level is evident with less supervision and control of inmates. Inmates confined in minimum security are allowed to participate in community based work assignments such as road maintenance.
Assigning Inmates to Prison. (1995-2012). Retrieved from North Carolina Department Of Public Safety: http://www.doc.state.nc.us/dop/custody.htm
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