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Division of Classification

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The Division of Offender Services is responsible for the classification of each offender committed by the courts to the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC).

Classification Objectives Include:

  • Explain the classification process upon initial entry into the correctional system and throughout the incarceration period 
  • Identify MDOC custody levels, their respective criteria, privileges and limitations
  • Identify the offender’s security, medical, educational, work and housing needs and classify accordingly
  • Match the offender’s specific needs with the appropriate programs available in order to develop his personal incarceration program 
  • Monitor and evaluate annually the offender’s incarceration program through case management
  • Specify the level of custody required and provide regular review of each classification
  • Solicit and use pre-institutional assessment information regarding offender progress and adjustment
  • Provide a progress report to the paroling authority which includes a current and complete history of the offender’s activities in the institution and a proposed parole plan
  • Provide a level of appeal for the offender through grievance procedures

Initial Classification

Offenders committed by the courts to MDOC or returned as parole, probation, Intensive Supervision Program, Earned Release Supervision or suspension violators are first assigned to the Reception and Classification (R&C) Center, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF), Pearl, Mississippi.  All offenders are initially classified into a custody level, incarceration program, and assigned to an institution/facility that best meets their needs.  Initial reception and orientation for offenders at CMCF, except in unusual circumstances, shall be completed within four (4) weeks after admission.

The Initial Classification assessment establishes an offender’s custody level upon his/her admission to the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC).  This custody level is scored on a numerical scale to identify the type and level of risk likely to be presented by the offender. The offender will be afforded a hearing and notification of the decisions regarding a facility assignment, program eligibility, and supervision requirements.

Admissions and Orientation consist of the following: 

  • Introduction to the initial classification process
  • Explanation of mail and visitation procedures
  • Perform medical, dental and mental health screening by trained or qualified health care personnel
  • Obtain a social history and personal data to complete the social admission report
  • Administer a battery of psychological, intelligence, and educational tests
  • Assist the offender with social and family data sheet
  • Provide written orientation materials for MDOC
  • Interview and conduct Initial Classification Hearings to determine the custody level, housing assignment, and incarceration program
  • Obtain authorization and signature of offender for release of confidential information
  • Develop a summary admission report and working file that will move with each offender as housing locations change throughout the term of incarceration

Reclassification

PURPOSE:

The Inmate Reclassification Score Sheet is used to review and update an inmate’s custody rating throughout his/her incarceration in the Mississippi Department of Corrections.  The purpose of the reassessment process is to ensure the inmate’s placement in the least restrictive environment while ensuring public safety and the security of the institution, staff and all inmates. The custody rating is based upon an assessment of eight (8) items that are scored on a numerical scale. These items have been found to be associated with institutional conduct and risk of escape and, thus, help to identify the type and level of risk likely to be presented by the inmate. The Reclassification Score Sheet is used when making decisions relating to the inmate’s facility re-assignment, program eligibility, and supervision requirements.

COMPLETION POLICY:

The Reclassification Instrument should be completed annually for minimum, medium, and close custody inmates or upon receipt of new information or events.  Inmates in administrative segregation should be assessed every six months (biannually) or upon receipt of new information or events that suggest a need to modify the inmate’s custody level.  The information or events that prompt an administrative review includes:

  • New sentence and/or conviction;
  • Modification of the current sentence or conviction;
  • Removal or lodging of a detainer, warrant, or hold; or
  • Predatory or assaultive RVR with or without serious injury or use of a weapon

Request for reclassification of offenders will be initiated by the Unit Case Manager at the request of the following:

  • Request from the Offender
  • Request from Staff
  • Request from Non-Staff Members

The following factors are considered during re-classification:

    Nature of offense – Circumstances of the crime
     
    Behavior and attitude following arrest, and prior commitments, including confinement(s) and adjustment while on bond or probation
     
    Type of sentence; length of sentence
     
    Prior criminal history
     
    Personal and social factors; personal goals
     
    Adjustment to incarceration:  Rule Violation Reports recorded
     
    Evaluation and psychological tests
     
    Security requirement(s) of MDOC to include protecting the community, MDOC staff, and other inmates        

Offenders are assigned to one of the below listed custody classifications: 

Minimum (Community) Community Based Facility placement
Minimum (Non-Community) Without immediate security supervision
Medium Direct Security Supervision
Close Close Restricted Security Supervision; dorm or single cell
Death Row Sentenced to Death

A formal hearing will be conducted to ensure decisions are rational, objective and completed in a timely manner. Reviews of each offenders custody, job assignment, housing assignment, placement in/or release from security detention status and treatment programs will be conducted at the unit level by the Unit Case Manager. All classification recommendations will be reviewed and completed by the approving authority.

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