Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Patricia Van Voorhis
Classification is fundamental to correctional practice. It is incumbent upon any correctional agency, institution, or community to identify (classify) who is (a) at risk of reoffending, (b) likely to incur problems adjusting to prison, and (c) in need of specific services. Determining whether an offender is able to participate in various types of treatment programs, examining such traits as ethnicity, age, gender, and intelligence, also falls under the rubric of correctional classification. Offenders are not all alike but differ according to risk, treatment needs, intelligence, gender, ethnicity, financial needs, family considerations, personality, employment, employability, and other factors. Failure to assess for and plan for such differences may imperil the safety of prison facilities and communities. At the same time, ignoring assessments, which help to match offenders to appropriate treatments and services, increase the likelihood that offenders will commit new offenses upon release. Prior to the 1960s, correctional classification typically involved ...