Classification of Prisoners According to Degree of Security

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A classification system is used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to determine the classification of prisoners. Basically, a Security Point Total score is determined by this assessment. This one is the main thing that determines the security level of incarceration. Apparently, similar systems are used by a lot of state departments of corrections.

The best thing to determine the best prison security level is the Security Point Total, even though some other factors such as medical care level, mental health care level, specific defendant factors, and so on are also considered. It is known as the centerpiece of the classification of prisoners.

Initial Prison Designation

Apparently, every federal inmate is assigned to a certain level of security based on their custody and classification score. At first, the Designation and Sentence Computation Center or DSCC of the Bureau of Prisons calculates this security score. Usually, this is completed within three days of getting the documentation that is needed.

  • Initial designation documentation and process

The Designation and Sentence Computation Center, which is also more known as DSCC in short, gets the documentation from the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Probation Department when making initial designation determinations. The Pre-Sentence Report or PSR, Judgment and Commitment Order, and Statement of Reasons are included in all the documents. Then, DSCC bases its prison security level determinations on the documents.

The standardized process of the initial designation determination includes:

  1. The prisoner is sentenced.
  2. The Clerk of Court sends the Judgment and Commitment Order to the Designation and Sentence Computation Center or DSCC.
  3. The U.S. Marshals Service suggests DSCC that the prisoner is ready for designation to federal prison.
  4. DSCC contacts the responsible agencies in case any documents are missing.
  5. DSCC does a custody and classification analysis to determine the security level and make an initial designation.
  • Factors considered when making initial designation determinations

The DSCC team members will calculate the Security Point Total of the prisoner by using the documents mentioned above. The process includes considering applicable Public Safety Factors and Management Variables. There is a DSCC team that is known as Hotel Team that is responsible for the initial designation determinations.

A total of nine categories of information are used by DSCC officials to classify prisoners to certain prison security levels and individual federal prisons. There are a number of factors that are considered when making initial designation determinations, such as indicated prison security level, inmate staff supervision needs, the physical health and the mental health care needs of the defendant, the current bed space of different prisons, proximity to release residence, any judicial recommendations, separation orders amongst inmates, and special security measures required for the certain inmate.

When the process is completed, the U.S. Marshals Service of the placement determination will be notified by DSCC. Then, the prisoners in custody are routed to transfer to the designated institution. Everything is facilitated by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Redesignation | Recalculating Security Point Scores

For your information, the prison security level of the inmate is able to be recalculated by their case manager once they are in custody. This kind of thing is done at the prison where the inmate is placed. After the initial designation, the next job that should be done by the case manager of the inmate is to rescore the inmate periodically.

While it is true that it is not hard to view this as the case manager correcting errors, it is too simplistic of a view. Instead, the custody levels of the inmate change with time. Apart from that, another thing that changes with time is security points. For instance, after serving a couple of years, the age of the inmate may dictate a reduced prison security level. The same example is when the inmate is convicted of a prison disciplinary infraction. In this kind of case, their security points would be skyrocketed, and it is possible that it is enough to increase their security level.

  • Reasons for redesignations and transfers

There are a number of reasons that explain why a prisoner may need redesignation or transfer to another prison. It is possible that it is the wish of the prisoner or based on the determination of the case manager.

For instance, it is possible for the prisoners to want to move to a place that is close to their home to facilitate visits. It is also possible for their classification level to be changed due to their behavior. Aside from that, the other reasons to move include medical or physical treatment, participation in a certain educational or vocational training program, and so on.

  • Annual program review

The ones with the responsibility for periodic custody and classification rescoring are case managers. This kind of thing usually happens during the annual Program Review. During these reviews, the prisoner meets with a minimum of two unit team members. It has been known that the meetings are usually short.

The first Program Review occurs about 7 months following the initial designation of the inmate, according to Bureau policy. The following Program Reviews occur at least every 12 months. It is known to be the time when the classification of prisoners changes. In case the security score of the prisoner remains the same as previous year, they have a chance to move to a lower security prison.

  • Approving transfers

The warden has the privilege to approve transfers within the same federal correctional complex. If a prisoner wants to move to a different facility, it is a must for the case manager to submit a redesignation request to DSCC as they are the ones who make the last transfer determination.

The inter complex transfers are known to be common and do not take too much time. Unlike these transfers, transfers to the other federal prisons tend to take much time. After getting the transfer request, this department will then consider both the rationale for transfer and in the end they will make the final transfer determination.

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