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Sean Sisk Standardized Objective Classification Systems for County Jail Facilities Florida

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Standardized Objective Classification Systems for County Jail Facilities
Sean Sisk

Abstract
Violent inmate behavior and increased assaults on detention staff continue to rise in
Florida. The increase in inmate population, coupled with limited resources, creates
inconsistencies within Florida’s jail inmate classification systems. This research will review
current objective classification systems used in determining criteria for custody levels, with
a focus on “high risk” inmates. A survey of nine Florida county jail facilities with comparative
resident and inmate populations was conducted. This survey identified variables that both
assisted and hindered operational effectiveness. The data collected for this research
questioned if a standardized statewide classification system is necessary, or even possible.

Introduction
Correct inmate placement is vital to all correctional facilities. This is particularly true
with county correctional facilities. County jails house a variety of inmates from pretrial
detainees to serial killers. Unlike prisons which may be established to house a specific
category of prisoner such as minimum, medium and maximum custody facilities, jails
simultaneously contain all levels of inmate risks as well as individuals who have yet to be
convicted of a crime. Moreover, jails regularly transport the varied inmates to court
appearances, other facilities, medical appointments and work details.
Numerous factors must be considered when classifying an inmate. Such factors
include the security threat level to staff and other inmates, health and mental stability,
education and maturity level to name a few (Florida Department of Corrections, n.d.).
Effective classification results in an informed jail, minimizing potential liability and the
increase of officer, inmate and public safety. (Northpointe Institute for Public Management,
n.d.).
Failure to appropriately classify inmates creates risk to inmates, staff and the overall
security of the community. News reports of incidents involving injury to correctional staff
and other inmates are not uncommon. In Florida, I could not locate a standardized
objective consistent classification system from one county jail facility to another.
As a county jail dayshift commander responsible for the safe housing, care and
transportation of county, state and federal inmates who pass through the Charlotte County
Jail facility, this writer recognizes that the lack of standardized classification is a challenge.
Can county jails in Florida standardize their inmate classification in a manner to decrease
current risk and prepare for the increased variety of inmates anticipated in the future?

1

Literature Review
Florida State Standards
On a state level, Florida prisons have five clearly defined custody levels. These
levels include Maximum, Close, Medium, Minimum and Community. Classification at the
state level is governed by Florida State Statutes Chapter 944 and Florida Administrative
Code 33-601.210. The Florida Department of Corrections posts the custody levels and
general factors affecting the “custody grade” on the Department of Corrections website.
As prisons are long term custodial facilities, many of the factors that influence classification
focus on the inmate’s behavior while in custody.
Governmental agencies recognize that correct inmate classification and placement
are critical to security. On a state level, this includes correct placement at an institution
with the pertinent capabilities for the inmate’s specific classification. Security goals are met
by having standards that properly classify the inmate. Proper classification also assists
with the inmate’s ability to adjust to the custodial situation. (Florida Department of
Corrections, n.d.)
Jail Classification Guidelines
Currently, Florida lacks a defined mandatory objective classification system for
county jail facilities. While most prisons are run by the state, Florida jails are operated by
individual counties or private companies. There are sixty-seven counties in Florida. Each
county facility is subject to compliance with the Florida Model Jail Standards. The
Standards mandate that jails maintain a classification system for inmates. The
classification criteria must be in writing and restrictions during confinement must be
consistent with the classification. Each facility must have designated classification
personnel. (Florida Sheriff’s Association, 2008)
The Florida Model Jail Standards dictate that inmate classification must occur as
soon as practical following detention. The process of classifying must include available
information as to social, legal and self-reported medical history of the inmate. Compliance
with this minimal standard is determined by the Florida Sheriffs’ Association which has the
responsibility for inspecting the jails. Within those standards, highly varied classification
can occur. Unlike the state requirements, jails have great discretion in determining the
number of classification levels and definition for each classification category. (Florida
Sheriff’s Association, 2008)
At their discretion, jails may comply with standards published by the Florida
Corrections Accreditation Commission (FCAC), or other accreditation commissions. To
become an accredited facility pursuant to FCAC standards, jails must maintain a written
directive which outlines classification criteria. The classification pertains to housing,
programs and privileges. FCAC requires that inmates be classified as soon as practicable
after admission. To comply with FCAC the classification system must be uniform for all
inmates and the classification system must follow the inmate for the duration of custody.
(FCAC, n.d.)
FCAC specifically requires appropriate housing for inmates with a demonstrated
history of aggressiveness toward other inmates, or who have special classification. This
standard is moving toward a uniform high risk or maximum security classification. Yet, a
“history of aggressiveness” and “special classification” are not defined. Although more
2

specific than the Florida Model Jail Standards, the FCAC standards still fail to identify a
classification system which would be consistent in all accredited facilities. (Florida
Corrections Accreditation Commission, n.d.)
Proclaimed objective classification systems have been created by private industry
for use in correctional facilities. One such classification system was created by Northpointe
Institute for Public Management. Northpointe offers software which includes classification
features such as Initial Classification, Primary Classification and Classification Review.
Although this system may be an objective classification system, the user has the ability to
make subjective overrides when needed. (Northpointe Institute for Public Management,
n.d.)
Inmate Security Breaches
Despite being governed by seemingly objective classification systems, state prisons
experience security breaches. Typically, during a security breach, prisons lock down the
entire facility. All inmates are restricted, despite their classification. Unfortunately, a
lockdown did not occur in June 2008 when an inmate went missing at the Tomoka
Correctional Institution in Florida. Around 7:30 p.m. Officer Donna Fitzgerald discovered
Inmate Enoch Hall missing. She began looking for him near the Pride Workshop area.
When Fitzgerald found Hall hiding, she was met with a homemade knife. Hall overpowered
her and stabbed her numerous times. The Department of Corrections investigated the
incident. It was unknown why the prison was not on lockdown and a second officer did not
assist Hall during the search. (Lucie, 2008)
Florida is not alone in experiencing inmate security issues. The largest prison in
Oregon recently suffered an incident that resulted in a tower guard shooting an inmate.
The Snake River Correctional Institution was put into lockdown after the shot rang out from
the observation tower striking one inmate. At the time of the incident, inmates were in a
recreational yard. A major disturbance occurred involving 120 inmates who were engaged
in a physical altercation. Amber Campbell, a spokesperson for the prison, stated, “Staff
members have the authority to shoot, if needed, to stop violence. Shots have been fired
before, but this is the first time an inmate has been struck.” Investigators collected
information to determine the cause of this incident. (Tomlinson, 2008)
In South Carolina, May 2008, a disturbance held Lee Correctional Institution in lock
down. The prison is a maximum security prison. Guards were forced to retreat after using
tear gas in an attempt to gain compliance of approximately 150 inmates. The inmates were
sealed off and the wing was abandoned for over two hours. A special operations team was
activated from a nearby prison to secure the inmates back into their cells resulting in only
three minor injuries to inmates. This was not the first inmate disturbance at this facility.
The prison spokesperson states that the officers are simply outnumbered. A lockdown
allows officers time to gather their forces and for all to consider their options. (Kinnard,
2008)
In June 2008, an Inmate Michael Chasse at Maine State Prison took two individuals
hostage when he was given access to a small office in the Programs Building. The
hostages consisted of another inmate and an officer. The prison was in lockdown for seven
hours while authorities tried to negotiate. Two sergeants, who were separated by a glass
panel from the office where the hostages were held, were key to resolving the situation.
Communication was maintained with Chasse until a state police tactical team could
respond and set forth a plan of action. The tactical team gained access to the office and
3

secured the hostages and hostage taker without incident. The Corrections Commissioner
did not immediately release specific details or motive due to a pending criminal
investigation. The two hostages sustained superficial wounds, but were treated and
released from medical care. (Chapell, 2008)
Security Breaches during Jail Custody
County jail facilities not only provide basic needs such as food and housing, they are
responsible for medical treatment and often transportation of inmates. Classification of jail
inmates must anticipate that an inmate may move outside of the specific area for that
classification to obtain medical treatment or be transported to another location.
An attempt to provide medical treatment to an inmate with a history of assault
arrests ended in an attack on a nurse at Polk County Jail and two officers receiving broken
arms. Inmate Seymour Lennon attacked Nurse Sandra Collins as she was examining him
for complaints of breathing problems. When she proclaimed him to be fine and began
walking away, the inmate threw her to the ground and began choking her. It appeared that
he was trying to break her neck. Lennon attacked two deputies as they ran to assist Nurse
Collins. Other officers arrived and Lennon was subdued and placed in isolation. At the
time of the attack, Lennon was being held on charges of aggravated assault and domestic
battery. He had a prior history of assault on a police officer. Polk County Sheriff Grady
Judge admitted that it was not uncommon for officers to be attacked, but it was rare for a
nurse to be attacked. (Finley, 2006)
Classification often determines the physical location of an inmate within the facility.
At the Charlotte County Jail, maximum/high risk inmates are placed in cells that have high
security grade glass. Unfortunately, over crowding results in some maximum security
inmates being placed in less secure areas. After a recent incident in which an inmate burst
through his cell window and attacked an officer, the jail will replace its non secure windows
with windows made with unbreakable security-grade glass. (MSNBC, 2008)
Not all inmates need to be treated as violent high risk inmates. However, failure to
appropriately classify those inmates who need maximum security may result in tragedy.
Officer Julie Gabor Caddell, Officer Richard J. Burke, Officer Hewey R. Clemmons, Jr.,
Sergeant John “Steve” Dennard, Sergeant Kenneth M. Hendrick and Captain Ike Steel
were all Florida Correctional Officers who died as a result of inmate violence. Sadly,
Officer W.R. Brannon, Officer Gran Dohner, Assistant Superintendent James G. Godwin,
Officer John F. Gradon, Officer Fred S. Griffis, Officer William Henry Hunt, Officer Darla
Lathrem, Captain James W. Parr, Officer Howard D. Starling and Lester B. Sumner all lost
their lives as a result of inmate escapes or attempted escape. (Florida Department of
Corrections, n.d.)
While none of the security breach incidents reported above specifically identifies
inmate classification as a reason for the breach, the reports highlight the importance of
classification. The need for a consistent and objective classification system in jails is
apparent when considering the location and circumstances of each incident described. For
each incident, the question arises, were inmates classified properly to ensure that they
were limited to appropriate areas of the facility? Were the inmates classified properly to
ensure that appropriate staff was in place to monitor the inmate?
There are very few published incidents which point to classification as the cause of a
security breach. Further, classification guidelines for individual jail facilities are not
published. Classification variances may result in security breaches both inter and intra
4

agency. For example, the Charlotte County Jail classifies inmates as minimum, medium
and maximum. “High risk” is not a custody level. For example, a recent arrestee on
charges of petty theft may find himself as a maximum classification due to running from an
officer as a juvenile. Another example would be transportation officers traveling to another
county to pick up a stated “medium” classified inmate, only to find themselves transporting
someone Charlotte County would determine is “maximum.” Appropriate staff and security
measures may not be available for the transport given the discrepancy in the classification.
It should be clear that well defined classification levels and consistent objective
procedures are necessary for jail security and officer safety. Is it possible to create an
objective classification system for use in Florida jails? Are there great variances within the
actual classification systems currently being used by jail facilities?

Method
The purpose of this research is to review current classification systems, procedures
and methods specifically pertaining to “high risk’ inmates for jail facilities in counties with
resident populations from 139,757 to 196,540 and inmate populations of 403 to 966.
According to the Florida Department of Corrections, nine counties fell within this population
parameter: Bay, Citrus, Clay, Hernando, Indian River, Martin, Okaloosa, St. Johns and
Santa Rosa.
The data collection included surveys completed by classification personnel, review
of classification procedures and forms submitted by the sample facilities. The survey was
submitted by U.S. mail to the participants after identifying the individuals involved in
classification. Two individuals, with the exception of one county only having one
classification member, meeting these requirements were asked to complete the surveys at
each sample facility yielding a possible 17 surveys.
The survey questions were intended to identify classification categories, procedures
for classification, classification criteria, review of classification, procedures for interaction
with high risk inmates and population issues. Additional data was obtained from review of
other research projects of objective classification systems, review of the National Institute
of Corrections standards and other documented objective classification systems utilized by
jail facilities.
By relying on actual classification procedures in use at jail facilities in the population
ranges as well as comparison of the procedures to the prior studies of the National Institute
of Corrections and other research, the study was able to determine whether objective
classification is actually occurring and identified classification variances in agencies within
the sample populations. The study was informative as to commonalities in the classification
of high risk inmates and can be used for agencies in the evaluation and assessment of their
classification methods. However, it is possible that survey respondents may provide
responses of their agency goals rather than the agencies actual classification methods. The
survey failed to account for external factors which create deviation in classification such as
officer resources, overcrowding and inmate turnover.

5

Results
Of the sixty-seven counties in Florida, nine county jail facilities fit within the
parameters of this research. The nine counties with resident populations from 139,757 to
196,540 and inmate populations of 403 to 966 are stated below:
Table 1.
•

Bay County in northwest Florida

•

Citrus County in central west Florida

•

Clay County in northwest Florida

•

Hernando County in central west Florida

•

Indian River County in central east Florida

•

Martin County in southeast Florida

•

Okaloosa County in northwest Florida

•

St. John County in northeast Florida

•

Santa Rosa County in northwest Florida

The survey responses confirmed that each jail maintains an inmate classification
system. Of the nine subject counties, I confirmed via telephone that five facilities are
operated by a Sheriff’s Office, two facilities are operated by the county and two facilities are
6

operated by private correctional organizations. I received ten returned surveys out of
seventeen requests yielding a 58.8% response rate. Of the surveys returned, at least
92.6% of the questions were answered. The final two questions pertaining to programs for
high risk inmates resulted in some not responding to those questions. All of the
respondents to the survey assigned certified members to classify inmates rather than
allowing classification by civilian staff.
The maximum inmate capacity for respondents was 400-700 inmates and the
average inmate count for the past 12 months was 400-700. None of the responding officers
identified populations in excess of the maximum capacity range offered in the survey, but
did indicated the facilities were either on average at maximum capacity or just under. The
survey was confidential, thus I was unable to determine the actual number of facilities
which responded. The surveys were sent to two identified classification officers at each
facility. Half of the respondents stated that their facility had customized their own
classification system and half had purchased a system from a private organization. Notably,
none of the responding officers had adopted a classification system from another
correctional facility.
A series of questions were asked to determine the staff involved and the amount of
training required by each facility. All facilities assigned certified staff for classification. No
facilities reported more than eight staff members assigned to classification. The breakdown
was seventy percent reported one to four members assigned to classification and thirty
percent assigned five to eight. Likewise, seventy percent of the respondents provided one
to two weeks specific classification training for classification officers and thirty percent of
the classification officers received three to four weeks of training. All facilities classified
inmates at least four to five days a week with a majority classifying six to seven days a
week. Further, all inmates received initial classification within forty-eight hours of arrest
and/or sentencing.
A key focus as to whether inmates can be classified consistently and objectively in
all facilities depends on the inmate custody levels. All respondents used the three primary
classification level of minimum, medium and maximum. Additional special classification
levels were identified by some of the respondents as being, “special”, “confinement”,
“medical”, “medium high risk” and “maximum high risk”. Once classified, ninety percent of
the respondents separated violent inmates from non violent inmates. However, not all
respondents designed each housing area for a particular custody level and only forty
percent reported separating inmates charged with misdemeanors from those charged with
felonies. Eight of the respondents surveyed are able to house an inmate within the area
specified for that inmate’s classification all of the time.
High risk inmates are of a particular concern when determining classification and
housing. Although some consistent factors were utilized by all who responded, significantly
variations were revealed as to the totality of the factors considered. For example, all
respondents considered past criminal history, past escape or escape attempts, violent
charges and current behavior at the facility. Not all respondents factored whether the
inmate was a sex offender, had special needs, a terrorist or had active gang affiliations.
The criteria considered are illustrated below:

7

Table 2. Classification Factors

Criteria in Determining High Risk Classification
100%
90%
80%

70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%

10%
0%

Once classified as a high risk inmate, staff must be able to determine what degree of
high risk the inmate has been classified as and what type of restraints, if any, must be
applied for safety. One hundred percent of the respondents identified high risk inmates by
the physical location of the inmate within the jail facility. Other identifiers included type of
uniforms, identification bands or cards and notations on computer and cell log paperwork.
Eighty percent of the respondents reported different levels for high risk inmates as well as
how high risk inmates are handled. Not all high risk inmates wore the same type of restraint
when outside of their assigned cell but one hundred percent wore the same type of restraint
when outside of the assigned housing unit or when attending programs.
The classification process is ongoing in all responding facilities. Thirty percent
reported to reassess an inmate’s classification status within thirty-one to ninety days of
initial classification. All facilities reassessed with new charges and after sentencing followed
by after disciplinary action at sixty percent.

Discussion
The results reflected consistent jail facility operations in classifying inmates,
assigning specific trained classification officers to the classification process, assigning
custody levels and identifying high risk inmates. Further, the survey results show that
classification is an ongoing process within each facility. However, the results indicated that
no two facilities utilize the same process or criteria for classification and custody of high risk
inmates.
8

Of interest was the fact that no responding facilities relied on other jails for their
classification system. They either purchased a packaged system or created a system
specific for their own institution. Each agency is apparently focused on its specific needs
and not taking measures to ensure that the agencies specific classification is consistent
with other agencies.
Although all classification is done by certified staff, not all participating jails require a
supervisor to override an inmate’s classification. Overrides fell within a minimal category,
but an override itself is considered a subjective decision. Given the number of inmates and
personal experience, a higher number of override figures were expected. This leaves the
question as to whether subjective factors are a common factor in the initial classification
leaving a reduced need for overrides.
Three of the responding facilities provided copies of their classification procedures
and definitions. Additional factors influencing classification were revealed. The
respondents were informed that the surveys were confidential, so the three that provided
their paperwork will be referred to as County 1, County 2 and County 3. County 1 includes
“victimization potential”, “political or religious conflicts” and “homosexual tendencies” as
factors. County 3 has a very subjective “Results of interviews” factor to be considered
during classification.
County 2 purchased the North Point system and use the North Point Decision Tree
for classification. Their classification results in eight custody levels. County 3 utilizes a
decision tree, yet also specifies the procedures for overrides. There are different
procedures for overrides involving higher custody level changes and lower custody level
changes. Further, County 3 limits overrides to only one custody level. They have eight
different custody levels.
Eighty percent of respondents stated that their housing areas are designated for a
particular custody level. Although housing areas are designated, it is not uncommon for the
housing to be designated as mixed use housing which includes inmates of differing custody
levels. According to the documents provided, both County 2 and 3 have mixed use
housing.
With regard to high risk inmates, there were no surprising results. All participating
jails handled such inmates in the same manner. The majority required restraints outside of
the cell. All required that their high risk inmates wear restraints when outside of their
assigned housing area. High risk inmates are identified mostly by their location in the jail
facility and by the type of uniform worn. It is not surprising that the participating jails have
specific handling procedures to secure inmates they identify as high risk.
Variations in classification are not unexpected when considering the variations in jail
operations. The Florida Department of Corrections governed by Chapter 951, Florida
Statutes and the Florida Administrative Code is operated by the State. Thus, DOC has one
agency with the same operational goal. In such a situation, standardized operations are
more easily implemented. In contrast, Florida jails may be operated by a county Sheriff, a
Board of County Commissioners or a private organization unlike the Department of
Corrections operated by the State of Florida.
Moreover, within each facility supervision is varied. Typically, jail facilities are linear,
direct supervision, open bay or could be a combination of the three. The survey failed to
identify the type of physical layout for each facility. The survey also did not inquire as to
whether the jail was an accredited facility. Accreditation implies a more stringent operation
although such requirements are not specific to classification.
9

Recommendation
While an objective classification system to be used by all jails may not be feasible,
investigation and consideration of classification systems and processes used by similar
facilities can only benefit a jail operation. When considering the results, additional
questions were raised. Additional research is needed to determine the following:
Survey Recommendations
•

Conduct ongoing discussions with other facilities to investigate the positives and
negatives of their classification system to improve current systems within a facility.

•

Determine the supervision style of the facility.

•

Determine physical plant layout of the jail.

•

Investigate whether accreditation factors into classification procedures.

•

Develop a committee to establish well defined definitions, terminologies and/or a set
of standards for the criteria of minimum, medium, maximum and high risk inmates
for the State of Florida through the Sheriff’s Association.

Lieutenant Sean Sisk began his career in Corrections with the Charlotte Correctional Institution in 1989. In
1991, he took a position with the Desoto Correctional Institution until hired by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s
Office in 1992. Sean established a career path in Corrections working his way from floor deputy to his current
position of Watch Commander. Sean is working towards obtaining his Associates Degree in Criminal Justice
from Edition State College.

10

References
Chapell, G. (2008, July 02). State prison hostage detail aired. Bangor Daily News.
Retrieved July 03, 2008, from
http;//bangornews.com/news/t/news.aspx?articleid=166581&zoneid=164
Finley, G. (2006, April 15). Inmate hurt 2 deputies in fight. The Ledger Online News.
Retrieved July 25, 2008, from
http://www.theledger.com/article/20060415/news/604150346
Florida Corrections Accreditation Commissions. (n.d.). Standards manuel 3rd edition.
Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission Website, Retrieved September 12,
2008, from
http://www.flaccreditation.org/FCAC%20web/Standards%20Manual_fcac.htm
Florida Department of Corrections. (n.d.).Custody-frequently asked questions regarding
custody. Florida Department of Corrections Website, Retrieved October 14, 2008,
from http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/inmates/custody.html
Florida Department of Corrections. (n.d.).Inmate classification- frequently asked questions
regarding custody. Florida Department of Corrections Website, Retrieved October
14, 2008, from http://www.oppaga.state.fl.us/profiles/1039/print.asp
Florida Department of Corrections. (n.d.). Memorial-memorial for fallen officers. Florida
Department of Corrections Website, Retrieved October 28, 2008, from
http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/index.html
Florida Sheriff’s Association. (2008, August 01). Florida model jail standards. Florida
Sheriff’s Association Website, Retrieved September 26, 2008, from
http://www.flsheriffs.org/index.cfm/referer/content.contentList/ID/408/
Kinnard, M. (2008, May 23). Parts of South Carolina prison on lockdown after disturbance.
The Associated press. Retrieved August 04, 2008, from
http:www.azstarnet.com/sn/news/240317.php
Lucie, C.(2008, June 25). Inmate charged with slaying of Tomoka guard. Wesh 2 Orlando
News. Retrieved June 27, 2008, from http://wesh.com/news/16713238/detail.html
MSNBC.(2008, October 01). Attack prompts county to give jail cells a face lift. WBBH-TV
local news, retrieved on October 02, 2008, from
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26981606
Northpointe-Institute for Public Management Retrieved October 14, 2008, from
http://www.northpointe.com/software-jic.aspx
Tomlinson, S. (208, April 06). Inmate shot by guard, three others injured during prison fight.
The Oregonian. Retrieved August 04, 2008, from
http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2008/04/inmate_shot_three_other_injure.ht
ml
11

Appendix A
Standardized Objective Classification Systems for County Jail Facilities
Cover Letter

I am Lt. Jeffrey Sisk with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. I am a dayshift jail
commander. To better assist our agency, I am researching methods and criteria for
inmate classification.
To assist in my research and analysis of our system, it would be beneficial to obtain
information from other agencies pertaining to classification procedures. I have
identified your agency as having similar resident population as well as inmate
population. As a fellow officer who is involved in the classification process, I am
asking that two members of your classification department each respond to the
enclosed surveys by December 22, 2008. Once completed, please return the
questions to my office in the enclosed self addressed postage paid envelope. Please
enclose a copy of your classification policies, procedures and instruments
(classification paperwork) along with the definitions of each custody level.

All responses to my survey are confidential. If you have any questions regarding
this request, please contact me at (941) 833-6356 or email me at
jeffrey.sisk@ccso.org. I thank you in advance for your cooperation.

12

Appendix B

Classification Survey

1. What is the maximum capacity of your facility?
a) 400-500
10%
b) 501-600
40%
c) 601-700
50%
d) 701-800
e) 801 or more
2. What is your average daily inmate count for the last 12 months?
a) 400-500
10%
b) 501-600
50%
c) 601-700
40%
d) 701-800
e) 801 or more
3. What type of inmate classification system does your facility use?
a) Point system
20%
b) Decision Tree
80%
c) Other ___________________________________________
d) None
4. How did you obtain your current classification system?
a) Purchased system from private organization/vendor
50%
b) Adopted classification system from other facility
c) Tailor created your own classification system
50%
d) Other ___________________________________________
5. Who is assigned to classify inmates?
a) Civilian staff
b) Certified staff
100%
c) Both civilian and certified
d) Other ___________________________________________
6. How many members are assigned to your classification department including supervisors?
a) 1-4
70%
b) 5-8
30%
c) 9-12
d) 12 or more

13

7. How many hours a day do you classify inmates?
a) 8
10%
b) 9-12
70%
c) 13-16
20%
d) 17 or more
8. How many days a week do you classify inmates?
a) 1-3
b) 4-5
30%
c) 6-7
70%
9. How much training specific to the classification process does a Classification member
receive?
a) 1-2 weeks
70%
b) 3-4 weeks
30%
c) 5-6 weeks
d) More than 6 weeks
10. What are your inmate custody levels? (Mark all that apply. Please attach a copy of your
Classification Policy with custody levels and definitions.)
o Community
o Minimum
100%
o Medium
100%
o Close
o Maximum
100%
o Other __Special 30%_
Confinement 30%__ Medical 20%_____
o Other __Medium High 20%_
Maximum High 20%__ Juvenile 20%_____
11. Is each housing area designated for a particular custody level?
o yes
o no
80%
20%
12. Do you separate non violent from violent inmates?
o yes
o no
90%
10%
13. Do you separate inmates charged with misdemeanors from felonies?
o yes
o no
40%
60%
14. When do you complete your first classification of a newly arrested or sentenced inmate?
a) At processing
30%
b) Within 48 hours
50%
c) Within 36 hours
20%
d) After 36 hours

14

15. When does your facility reassess an inmate’s custody level? (Mark all that apply)
o Within 30 days
20%
o After disciplinary action 60%
o Within 31-60 days
30%
o New charges
100%
o Within 61-90 days
30%
o After sentencing
80%
o Medical needs (medical condition/ mental status)40 o Special needs (treatment)40%
o Other ____________________________________
16. Can an inmate challenge their custody level?
o yes
o no
80%
20%
17. How often is your facility actually able to house an inmate within the area specified for the
inmate’s classification?
a) 25 percent of the time
b) 50 percent of the time
c) 75 percent of the time
20%
d) 100 percent of the time
80%
18. Who has the ability to override an inmate’s custody level? (Mark all that apply.)
o Classification Clerk
o Classification Officer
80%
o Housing or Pod Officer
o Classification Supervisor
100%
19. Approximately how many overrides do you average per 25 inmates during the classification
process? (Either up or down a custody level)
a) 1-3
100%
b) 4-6
c) 7-9
d) 10 or more
20. What factors determine if an inmate is classified as high risk? (Mark all that apply.)
o Past criminal history
100% o special needs (treatment programs) 20%
o Medical needs
o past escape/ escape attempt
100%
o Mental health needs/ suicidal 50% o violent charges
100%
o Currently a State Inmate
40% o Sex Offender
30%
o Informant
20% o Behavior history at facility
100%
o Current length of sentence 30% o Current charges/high bond
60%
o Terrorist
40% o Gang Affiliation
40%
o Protective custody
20% o Other__Institutional Behavior
20%
o Other _____________________
o Other ____________________

15

21. How do you identify the high risk inmates from other inmates? (Mark all that apply)
a)
b)
c)
d)

ID Bands/Cards
30%
Inmate uniforms
70%
Computer notation/cell assignment log 30%
Physical location in jail facility
100%

22. Are there different levels to an inmate classified as high risk at your facility?
o yes
o no
80%
20%
23. Do all high risk inmates wear the same type of restraints when outside their cell?
o yes
o no
80%
20%
24. Do all high risk inmates wear the same type of restraints when outside of their assigned
housing unit?
o yes
o no
100%
25. Are high risk inmates allowed to attend programs at your facility?
o yes
o no
10%
90%
26. If high risk inmates are allowed to attend programs, are they allowed to attend with open
population inmates?
o yes
o no
100% Yes (of those who answered yes to question #25)
27. If high risk inmates are allowed to attend programs, are they required to wear restraint
devices?
o yes
o no
100% Yes (of those who answered yes to questions #25 and 26)

16

Appendix C
List of counties surveyed

1. Bay County
314 1/2 Harmon Ave
Panama City, Fl 32401-3013
(850) 785-5245
Jail facility operated by the Sheriff
2. Citrus County
2604 West Woodland Ridge Drive
Lecanto, Fl 34461
(352) 527-3332
Jail facility operated by a private organization
3. Clay County
P.O. Box 548
Green Cove Springs, Fl 32043
(904) 213-5948
Jail facility operated by the Board of County Commissioners
4. Hernando County
16425 Spring Hill Drive
Brooksville, Fl 34604-8167
(352) 796-8559
Jail facility operated by a private organization
5. Indian River County
4055 41st Avenue
Vero Beach, Fl 32960-1802
(772) 569-6700
Jail facility operated by the Sheriff
6. Martin County
800 S.E. Monterey Road
Stuart, Fl 33994
(772) 220-7200
Jail facility operated by the Sheriff
7. Okaloosa County
1200 E. James Lee Boulevard
Crestview, Fl 32539-3216
(850) 689-5690
Jail facility operated by the Board of County Commissioners

17

8. St Johns County
3955 Lewis Speedway
St. Augustine, Fl 32084
(904) 829-6496
Jail facility operated by the Sheriff
9. Santa Rosa County
5755 E. Milton Road
Milton, Fl 32572
(850) 983-1142
Jail facility operated by the Sheriff

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