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James Austin

Results from a survey "designed to obtain information on the procedures used to classify high-risk inmates, particularly those in protective custody or administrative segregation, and inmates with mental illness or medical problems" are presented (p. xvi). Six chapters follow an executive summary:

  • Introduction;
  • Overview of risk assessment;
  • Risk assessment systems and instruments;
  • Findings of the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates;
  • Identification and review of model programs;
  • And issues and recommendations.

 

Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners: A National Assessment of Current Practices Cover

In order to enable correctional administrators to anticipate further improvements in objective classification, this bulletin provides a summary of current critical classification issues. Topics briefly discussed include: re-evaluation of existing prison classification systems; external and internal classification; classification systems for women inmates; identification of high risk and special management inmates; the use of classification for reentry and inmate transition programs; the impact of longer prison terms; using classification for planning purposes; and the need for on-going research and evaluation of classification practices.

Critical Issues and Developments in Prison Classification Cover

New information and knowledge learned regarding classification and risk assessment systems are reviewed. Topics discussed include: differences between prison classification and public risk assessment; differences between external and internal prison classification systems; standards in evaluating prisoner classification and other risk assessment instruments; the logic of prisoner classification systems; issues in reliability; issues in validity; factors associated with misconduct; impact of prison management and environment; and the need to link prison classification, risk assessment, and release decisions.

Findings in Prison Classification and Risk Assessment Cover

"Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. prison population — 576,000 people — are behind bars with no compelling public safety reason, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. The first-of-its-kind analysis provides a blueprint for how the country can drastically cut its prison population while still keeping crime rates near historic lows."

Sections cover: the current prison population; time served in prison today; ending prison for lower-level crimes; reducing time served for other crimes; and recommendations and cost savings.

Cover image for How many Americans are Unnecessarily Incarcerated

“Are there connections between these three shifts – a decrease in crime, a decrease in the correctional population, and a sharp increase in controversial police practices? What factors contributed to these shifts? What about the costs of these shifts? Have they been evaluated and weighed against the benefits? In this report, leading criminologists James Austin and Michael Jacobson take an empirical look at these powerful social changes and any interconnections. Examining data from 1985 to 2009, they conclude that New York City’s “broken windows” policy did something unexpected: it reduced the entire correctional population of the state. As the NYPD focused on low-level arrests, it devoted fewer resources to felony arrests. At the same time, a lowered crime rate – as an additional factor – meant that fewer people were committing felonies. This combination led to fewer felony arrests and therefore fewer people entering the correctional system. Other policies – like programs that stopped punishing people with prison if not necessary – also contributed to this population drop” (p. 3). Sections of this report following an executive summary are: decline in New York prison population—drop in admissions and increase in statewide length of stay; decline in New York parole, probation, and jail populations; delayed effect on state corrections budget; accompanying drop in New York City’s crime rate and shift in arrest policy; and conclusion.

How New York City

Objective jail classification (OJC) is a process of assessing every jail inmate's custody and program needs and is considered one of the most important management tools available to jail administrators and criminal justice system planners. An effective system of inmate classification will reduce escapes and escape attempts, suicides and suicide attempts, and inmate assaults. OJC systems use locally developed and validated instruments, one at intake and another after a period of confinement, that identify the level of risk and needs presented by an inmate so that appropriate housing and program assignments can be made. The data generated through the classification process can also be used for operational, management, and planning purposes. This guide to OJC is intended for both jail administrators and other officials involved in local criminal justice system issues. It discusses key components of an OJC system, including instruments that use reliable and valid criteria, overrides by classification staff, staff training and commitment to OJC, and a housing plan that is consistent with classification outcomes. The author outlines specific aspects of system implementation, automation, monitoring, and evaluation of OJC systems. Policy implications and recommendations are also discussed.

Objective Jail Classification Systems: A Guide for Jail Administrators Cover

Classification systems help minimize the potential for prison violence, escape, and institutional misconduct. During the past three decades, correctional system administrators and researchers worked assiduously to improve their approaches to classifying and housing incarcerated individuals according to their custody, work, and programming needs. These efforts have refined and validated the criteria for custody decisions, increased the reliability of custody decisions, reduced over-classification, enhanced assessment of institutional program needs, and reduced institutional violence.

This publication is an update to NIC's previous Objective Prison Classification (2004). The second edition includes updates to critical areas, including the classification of women in prison and evaluating current classification systems. Following a brief discussion defining the essential components of an effective classification system, the guide walks through the four phases of effective classification system development: mobilization, assessment, planning, and implementation. The guide concludes with a discussion of special topics and implications for the future.

 

cover image for publication

Tasks, assessments, and technology used in prisoner intake systems are examined. Following an executive summary, this report has seven chapters: introduction; national overview of facility characteristics, facility functions, intake components and personnel responsibilities, and obstacles to intake assessments; four chapters review select agency's corrections population, intake facilities, intake process, processing time and flexibility, classification, and needs assessment -- one chapter per Department of Correction(s) from Colorado, Washington (state), Pennsylvania, and North Carolina; and implications of the research. Appendixes include: "Admission Data Summary" and "Diagnostic Narrative Summary" forms (Colorado DOC); "Risk Management Identification Worksheet" form (Washington DOC); and Pennsylvania DOC "Classification Summary."

Prisoner Intake Systems: Assessing Needs and Classifying Prisoners Cover

Work undertaken by the participating states is described, an outline of the fundamental tasks required for a revalidation effort is provided, and external classification trends and lessons learned from these classification reforms are summarized within this report (p. x). This report is comprised of the following sections: executive summary; introduction; NIC classification goals and objectives; description of the ten states' external classification initiatives (Virginia, Montana, Oregon, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Tennessee); recommended methodology for testing, implementing, and monitoring classification reforms; and common issues, problems and solutions, and next steps. Appendixes provide copies of external classification instruments validated by select states and statistical tables.

Revalidating External Prison Cover

The authors examine issues related to classification of female jail inmates by profiling the female inmate population and discussing problems associated with using a single classification system for both male and female inmates or a gender-neutral system. This document also provides guidelines for designing a classification system specifically for women.

Women in Jail: Classification Issues Cover
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