How are initial security classification decisions made?
- Kate Mitchell
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Generally, security classification decisions are made by the Institutional Head or District Director.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, the Assistant Commissioner makes the initial classification decision for those serving life sentences for murder and terrorism who are classified as minimum or medium security, as well as for dangerous offenders initially classified as minimum security.
These decisions are based on recommendations from parole officers. Upon intake, a parole officer completes a Custody Rating Scale and rates the offender’s institutional adjustment, escape risk, and public safety.
Custody Rating Scale
The parole officer looks at a number of different factors about the offender and his/her crimes, and the parole officer assigns numeric scores to each category listed. At the end, the scores are tallied and the score determines whether the offender’s security classification will be minimum, medium, or maximum.
Institutional adjustment, escape risk, and risk to public safety
A parole officer will assign a score of low, medium, or high in each of these three dimensions. Based on these three ratings, the offender will be assigned a security classification. The security classification depends on what scores the offender received on each of the three dimensions:
Maximum security: high escape risk and high risk to public safety; OR requires high degree of supervision
Medium security: low to medium escape risk and medium risk to public safety; OR requires a moderate degree of supervision and control needed
Minimum security: low escape risk, low public safety, AND low degree of supervision and control necessary