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Explain why supervising agencies adopted a classification system to assist in the assignment of offenders

by | Apr 28, 2022 | Criminology


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Explain why supervising agencies adopted a classification system to assist in the assignment of offenders. Discuss and provide examples of at least two (2) risk factors that may predict recidivism among offenders under supervision. There is a correlation between these two questions, so please be specific with your response. ( Doesn’t have to be 275 words)
Can you please respond to these 5 post ? (2-3 sentences)
1. Amber
Offender classification and assessment are two related but distinct processes in the operation of the prison system and community corrections. Prisons use classification for security needs (Abadinsky, 2018). Probation and parole officers use classification for case load management ( Abadinsky, 2018). Risk/needs assessment may predict recidivism among offenders. Additionally, antisocial personality pattern, Pro-criminal attitude, Anti-social associates, Poor use of leisure/recreational time, Substance use, Problematic circumstances at home – e.g., neglect or abuse, homelessness, Problematic circumstances at school or work – e.g., limited education, unemployment are all factors that may predict criminal behavior. Overall, the risk and needs assessment determine the level of supervision for each client.
Abadinsky, H. (2018). Probation and parole: Corrections in the community.
2. Caitlin
The correctional system’s classification for prison use influenced the creation of a classification system for supervision. From a rehabilitative perspective, classification is used to assess the risk of unsuccessful completion of probation/parole. According to the South Dakota Department of Corrections ” The Community Risk/Needs Assessment and Community Risk Re-Assessment combine the static factors of an offender’s criminal history and behavior with his/her dynamic factors/needs. The combination of static and dynamic factors shows a strong statistical relationship to offender recidivism, and thus can be used to help predict success on supervision and focus supervision resources. The combination of static and dynamic factors also provides a useful means of monitoring changes in an offender’s behavior, attitudes, and circumstances” (SDDOC, 2019). To summarize, by assessing the risk of each offender offered supervision, the correctional department is more effectively able to treat each offender and predict success based on related behavioral factors such as age at crime and family background. Based on the level of risk of recidivism, higher-risk offenders will be placed on more restrictive supervision terms with intense treatments while lower-risk offenders will be given contact privileges and more freedom. The results also help decide which treatments would be most effective based on the problems assessed. One risk factor as assessed in the assignment of offenders is the age at the time of the crime, the younger an offender is the more likely they are to re-offend. So using the risk/needs assessment, at the time of the crime, the younger the offender the more risk of failed completion and the more points assessed. Another factor used to predict the risk of recidivism is mental illness, based on the mental illness, points are produced to assess risk and then the offender is directed to specific treatment programs to prevent increased recidivism. If risk factors are not assessed, too much freedom could be given to someone with a mental illness who requires special treatment in order to complete supervision with a low recidivism rate. Improper assessment can lead to engagement in criminal activity due to mental illness detorting self-control and/or family background influencing additional engagement.
South Dakota Department Of Corrections. (2019, July 23). Parole- Community Risk Assessment and Supervision of Offenders.
What is Risk Assessment. Bureau of Justice Assistance. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from
3. Gabriella
Supervising agencies adopted a classification system to assist in the assignment of offenders because it aids in the understanding of what types of needs certain offenders have. By using the classification system, different “plans” can be constructed to better rehabilitate them and offer them resources that will actually help. For example, an offender with minimal supervision might need only a few check-ins, help with getting job recommendations, and help with finding suitable housing. On the oppositie side of the spectrum, an offender with a high level of supervision might need numerous check-ins, help with getting a job, help with finding housing, a referral to a therapist, a referral to job skills training, and so much more. This offender ended up with the highest level of supervision for multiple reasons and each one of those needs a lot of time and effort dedicated to resolving them. By using the classification system, those high-level supervision offenders can be assigned to P/PO officers who only receive a few cases and who are assigned only high-level supervision clients. This ensures that they are getting the attention they need and that their P/PO knows what he/she is doing in regards to check-ins, referrals, and aid.
Two risk factors that may predict recidivism among offenders under supervision are substance misuse and mental health needs (Yukhnenko, Blackwood, Fazel, 2020). Drug misuse can not only cause neurological damage that decreases an individual’s self control but can also be the sole motive to commit crime (either dealing or using). This is important because these effects are not always easily dealt with using an action plan or using supervisory guidelines. Some P/POs are not adequately equipped to help these types of offenders or the offenders are not meant to be in their care because of a mishap in the classification process. For example, an offender with drug misuse issues (surface-level) may get medium supervision from a medium supervision trained P/PO. However, if there are neurological issues that go undetected then that medium supervision will not help them at all, rending the supervision process useless. This will increase their chances of reoffending because the right classification was not given out. This is the same issue with mental health needs because certain disorders can lead to increased risks of violence and reoffending (Yukhenko, Blackwood, Fazel, 2020). Some classification systems do not classify mental health disorders by disorder. Instead, there is one type of classification for all disorders which can lead to reoffending. Certain mental health disorders need more supervision than others so if the wrong classification is given, then reoffending can be predicted.
4. Stephen
Supervising agencies adopted a classification system to assist in the assignment of offenders for various numbers of reasons. One classification is used at the prison for security needs but has been expanded on to parole and rehabilitation programs. Knowing your offender has a substance abuse problem and placing that individual in special treatment programs is the key to rehabilitation. In prisons having a classification system for the inmate population is a must. Inmates can be placed on ad-seg, restricted housing units, protective custody units, and special needs/fitment housing all based upon the inmate’s classification.
Two risk factors that may predict recidivism among offenders under supervision are substance abuse issues and past criminal history. Offenders that have a substance abuse problem sadly are high-risk individuals to re-abuse drugs again. Statistics from BTS (2021) “Seventy-six percent of jail inmates who had a mental health problem were dependent on or abused alcohol or drugs, compared to 53% of inmates without a mental health problem”, shows just how high the substance abuse program is in the criminal justice system. Repeat offenders for obvious reasons have a high-risk factor as they continue to have a disregard for laws. Whether it be substance abuse or just a criminal with an anti-law enforcement mentality, these offenders need to be classified and put into special programs.
5. La Keshia
Classification processes determine the entire nature of the prison experience, including but not limited to where an inmate is housed, whom he or she is housed with, the programs and work assignments available to or required of an inmate, visitation rights, and the amount or type of movement an inmate has within a facility. In making these important decisions, prisons have long relied on procedures to determine where and how to supervise inmates under their control. These classification processes are designed to maintain prison order, allocate necessary treatment services, and provide a transparent basis for decisions that affect inmate life. Classification decisions can be divided into several types: initial security/facility classification and custody classification, housing program and work assignments, and re-classifications. Inmates undergo a rigorous classification process upon reception into a corrections department’s custody and are often subject to re-evaluations throughout their time incarcerated. The predominant goal of classification systems is to identify and manage inmate risk, and many studies have focused on classification systems and inmate misconduct, recidivism, and violence. As classification systems are also intended to diagnose inmate needs and provide treatment, and ensure the efficient allocation of correctional resources, scholars have focused classification systems’ impact on adjustment to prison, provision of treatment, and prison crowding. Research has questioned the ability of a single classification system to assess the risk and need of all inmates. Many studies have considered gender equity in classification decisions as well as the additional treatment needs and management considerations for incarcerated individuals with mental illness. Additional research has focused on administrative segregation, or classification decisions that result in the isolation of those who cannot be housed in the general inmate population. Complicating this literature is the changing nature of classification systems over time and the fact that all states and the federal government have adopted unique classification systems. It is therefore difficult to draw conclusions about the state of knowledge on classification practices as a whole. Nevertheless, the past several decades have seen an emphasis on objective classification, or empirically based strategies to make classification decisions. The use of risk assessment tools has become commonplace in this realm. Though past research focused on classification systems as a means to control and monitor inmates, a promising future direction lies in needs assessments and the ability to deliver individualized treatment to incarcerated individuals. Assessing dynamic (modifiable) risk factors should be considered in all individuals given community sentences. The further integration of mental health, substance misuse, and criminal justice services may reduce reoffending risk in community sentenced populations.


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