Back to top

Jail classification

This guide “presents six key elements that, in combination, will help jails reduce a wide array of negative, destructive, and dangerous inmate behavior” (p. v). These elements are: assessing risk and needs; assigning inmates to housing; meeting inmates’ basic needs; defining and conveying expectations for inmate behavior; supervising inmates; and keeping inmates productively occupied.

Inmate Behavior Management Cover

"[A]reas in which jails tend to be deficient, suggesting the need for new or revised forms of NIC assistance" are identified (p.2). Issues examined include: age of facilities; accreditation; compliance with policy and procedure standards; adequacy of policy and procedure manuals; adequacy of staffing; staff turnover; compliance with staffing standards; compliance with staff training standards; exceeding capacity; coordinating councils; pretrial services programs; availability of specific pretrial services; use of jail alternatives; compliance classification standards; objective jail classification; housing configurations; compliance with security standards; adequacy of security capabilities; compliance with documentation standards; quality of documentation; use of automated jail management systems; data exchange with other criminal justice agencies; Internet access; funding authority relations; compliance with standards concerning fire codes; compliance with work site safety standards; compliance with health and sanitation standards; and cleanliness and sanitation.

Issues in Jail Operations Cover

The NIC Jails Division's services include training, networks, technical assistance, and information resources, such as documents and DVDs. These services are conducted under five initiatives.

Jail Administration

We provide training on key elements in jail administration, jail resource management, and building a productive relationship between jail officials and their funding authority. We also sponsor a peer-training network for large jail administrators, including meetings and an online discussion forum. Technical assistance and information resources cover a wide range of jail administration and operational issues.

Inmate Behavior Management

We provide training, technical assistance, and information resources on the design and operation of direct supervision jails and on key elements in managing inmate behavior in all types of jails. These key elements include assessing inmates’ risks and needs (classification), assigning inmates to housing, meeting inmates’ basic needs, setting and conveying behavioral expectations, supervising inmates, and keeping inmates productively occupied.

New Jail Planning

We provide training, technical assistance, and information resources on all phases of new-jail planning.

Jail Standards and Inspection

We provide training for jail inspectors, a peer-training network for chief jail inspectors, information resources on standards and inspection, and related technical assistance.

Crisis Intervention Teams

We provide training to help local jurisdictions learn the core elements of CITs and assess agency readiness to start a CIT.

Division Chief: Stephen Amos

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

A guide "developed to enhance the leadership skills, knowledge, and capabilities of jail administrators on issues of basic jail administration" is presented (p. v). Fourteen chapters comprise this guide: introduction; role, purpose, and characteristics of the jail; administration; facilities; staffing and scheduling; staff recruiting, selection, and retention; staff training; security, safety, and emergency preparedness; inmate behavior management; inmate discipline and grievance; special management; inmate services and programs; jail intake and release; and getting started on the job. Sixteen checklists allow administrators to assess performance and effectiveness of jail operations.

Resource Guide for Jail Administrators 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
Subscribe to Jail classification