skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 115182 Find in a Library
Title: Development of the Modern Classification System (From Classification: Innovative Correctional Programs, P 1-4, 1988 -- See NCJ-115181)
Author(s): M W Forcier
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, KY 40475
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

Eastern Kentucky University
Dept of Correctional Services
105 Stratton
Richmond, KY 40475
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article provides a brief review of the historical development of modern correctional classification systems and compares and contrasts subjective and objective approaches to classification.
Abstract: Three general periods of development can be identified: the segregation period of the early 19th Century, which focused on inmate age, sex, mental function, and offense severity; the early 20th Century approach to classification for diagnosis and treatment planning; and the classification for treatment phase that began in the 1950's and emphasized differential treatment and program evaluation. Current trends suggest an increasing emphasis on classification for security and custodial purposes. Subjective or traditional classification systems typically rely on the expertise and clinical judgment of individuals or teams in making security, custodial, and programmatic decisions about inmates. By contrast, objective systems usually assign points to inmates based on characteristics shown to be correlated with institutional adjustment. Objective systems generally use validated test and classification instruments, use the same approach for all offenders, and arrive at application factors shown to be related to placement decisions. Such systems promote uniformity of decisionmaking, are easily understood by staff and inmates, assign inmates to placements consistent with their backgrounds, and promote systematic and efficient monitoring. 18 references. (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Inmate classification
Index Term(s): Dangerousness; Evaluation measures; Needs assessment
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.