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U.S. Department of Justice
National Institute of Corrections

A National Assessment of
Current Prac tices

U.S. Department of Justice
National Institute of Corrections
320 First Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20534

Morris L. Thigpen
Director
Larry Solomon
Deputy Director
George M. Keiser
Chief, Community Corrections/Prisons Division
BeLinda P. Watson
Project Manager

National Institute of Corrections
World Wide Web Site
http://www.nicic.org

Classification of High-Risk and
Special Management Prisoners
A National Assessment
of Current Practices

James Austin, Ph.D.
Kenneth McGinnis

June 2004
NIC Accession Number 019468

This report was funded by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) under cooperative agreement
01P09G1Q1 with Security Response Technologies, Inc., and subcontracted with The Institute on Crime,
Justice and Corrections at The George Washington University. Points of view or opinions stated in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S.
Department of Justice.

Acknowledgments
A project of this nature would be impossible to conduct without extensive cooperation and assistance from all who participated in the agreement. We would first like
to acknowledge our colleagues on the project team: Karl R. Becker, Kathy Dennehy,
Michael V. Fair, Patricia L. Hardyman, Ph.D., Pablo Stewart, M.D., and Mary West.
On behalf of the team, we extend sincere appreciation to those who served on the
project advisory committee—Glenn Goord, Gary Johnson, Joe Lehman, Michael
Maloney, Gary Maynard, and Ronald Shansky. Their input was invaluable in keeping the project focused on the type of work that held the most potential benefit for
correctional managers and practitioners.
Special thanks go to Ronald Angelone, President of the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA), and Maryland Commissioner William Sondervan, chair of ASCA’s Managing Disruptive Inmates Committee, under whose
leadership the committee agreed to integrate its work with that of this NIC project.
The collaboration of the Managing Disruptive Inmates Committee eliminated duplication of effort and improved the efficiency of the project’s data collection. We also
extend appreciation to all of the staff who assisted in the work reflected in this
report, and in particular to the personnel in each department who assisted in collecting survey data and in coordinating the team’s onsite visits.
We would like to sincerely acknowledge the National Institute of Corrections (NIC)
for its continuing commitment to the development of the literature on internal classification systems. In particular, we would like to offer special thanks to Dr. Susan
Hunter. It was under Susan’s leadership and guidance during her tenure as Chief of
the NIC Prisons Division that this project to identify, classify, and manage high-risk
and special management prisoners came to fruition.
We would also like to acknowledge the long-term support of Ms. Sammie Brown,
formerly a Corrections Program Specialist with NIC, who served as project coordinator and liaison during the period of this project. She has been a strong and persistent advocate of objective prison classification and NIC’s technical assistance
program.
In the true spirit of a cooperative agreement, both Susan and Sammie worked closely with the project team to guide the research and refine the analysis. Their participation, guidance, and feedback over the course of the research and fieldwork made
a valuable contribution to this report.
Finally, we would like to thank Janet McNaughton and Brian Higgins, Aspen Systems Corporation, for editing and coordinating the production of this document.

iii

Contents
Acknowledgments.............................................................................................. iii
Executive Summary........................................................................................... ix
Chapter 1. Introduction ..................................................................................... 1
NIC Goals and Objectives ......................................................................... 4
Project Tasks .............................................................................................. 5
Chapter 2. Overview of Risk Assessment ......................................................... 7
Approaches to Risk Assessment ................................................................ 7
Limitations of Risk Assessment ............................................................... 8
Special Topics: Reentry and Medical and Mental Health Needs ............ 11
Chapter 3. Risk Assessment Systems and Instruments ................................ 15
Internal Management Systems................................................................. 15
Instruments To Assess General Criminality ............................................ 17
Instruments To Assess Sex Offenders...................................................... 21
Instruments To Assess Violence and Dangerousness............................... 22
Methods of Identifying Gangs and Security Threat Groups ................... 23
Chapter 4. Findings of the National Survey of the Management
of High-Risk Inmates........................................................................................ 25
Total Inmate Population........................................................................... 25
General Population................................................................................... 26
Special Management Populations............................................................ 28
Screening and Assessment ....................................................................... 42

v

Contents

Chapter 5. Identification and Review of Model Programs............................47
Connecticut Department of Correction.................................................... 51
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction ................................ 56
Federal Bureau of Prisons........................................................................ 61
Chapter 6. Issues and Recommendations....................................................... 63
Notes .................................................................................................................. 65
References.......................................................................................................... 67
Suggested Readings .......................................................................................... 71
Appendix: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates....... 75

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List of Exhibits
Exhibit 1. Typology of High-Risk and Special Management Inmates................. 2
Exhibit 2. Nationwide Estimated Inmate Classification Levels for the
Average Daily Population..................................................................................... 3
Exhibit 3. Prevalence of Infectious Diseases Among U.S. Prison and
Jail Inmates, 1997 ............................................................................................... 13
Exhibit 4. Estimated Number of Persons With Infectious Diseases
Passing Through U.S. Correctional Facilities, 1997 .......................................... 13
Exhibit 5. Prison Population............................................................................... 26
Exhibit 6. Prison Population Housed in General Population ............................. 28
Exhibit 7. Gender Distribution of Inmates Housed in General Population ....... 30
Exhibit 8. Inmates in Administrative or Disciplinary Segregation..................... 32
Exhibit 9. Inmates in Protective Custody ........................................................... 34
Exhibit 10. Inmates in Mental Health Units....................................................... 36
Exhibit 11. Inmates in Medical Units or Facilities............................................. 38
Exhibit 12. Estimates of Current Prison Population Trends .............................. 40
Exhibit 13. Policies Governing High-Security/Maximum-Custody Inmates...... 41
Exhibit 14. Number and Percentage of States Reporting Consent Decrees ...... 42
Exhibit 15. Active and Pending Consent Decrees by Special Management
Population and State, 2002 ................................................................................. 43
Exhibit 16. Screening for Various Factors at Initial Assessment ....................... 45
Exhibit 17. Inmate Population Classified as Gang or Security Threat
Group Members .................................................................................................. 46
Exhibit 18. Potential Model Programs for Managing Disruptive and
High-Risk Prisoners............................................................................................ 48
Exhibit 19. Average Length of Stay at the Ohio State Penitentiary................... 57
Exhibit 20. Ohio State Penitentiary Population, by Classification Level and
Housing Unit, September 2001 .......................................................................... 59

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List of Exhibits

Exhibit 21. Ohio State Penitentiary Release Recommendations........................ 60
Exhibit 22. Ohio State Penitentiary Class II Disciplinary Incidents,
May 2000 to August 2001 .................................................................................. 61

viii

Executive Summary
During the past decade, prison systems have experienced increased pressure to
improve their approaches to classifying prisoners according to custody, work, and
programming needs. Litigation and overcrowding have caused classification systems to be viewed as a principal management tool for allocating scarce prison
resources efficiently and minimizing the potential for violence or escape. These systems are also expected to provide greater accountability and to help forecast future
prison bedspace, staffing requirements, and prisoner program needs.
Although most prison systems have implemented objective classification systems
that have proven effective in determining the custody level assigned to an inmate
designated for the general population, less attention has been devoted to identifying
inmates who require special management. These inmates encompass a variety of
populations, ranging from highly aggressive prisoners, sexual predators, and gang
members to the mentally ill and medically challenged. There is also a pool of prisoners in the general population who are classified as “maximum” or “close” custody
because of disruptive behavior patterns or the suspicion that they may engage in
such behavior in the future. These general population prisoners should also be
viewed as high risk and may warrant special observation, monitoring, housing, and
programming.
Inmates classified as high-risk or special management constitute an estimated 10–15
percent of the nation’s prison population. Another 10–15 percent of the total inmate
population is considered maximum or close custody within the general population.
In general, the majority of prisoners never become disruptive or difficult to manage.
The most serious forms of disruptive behavior within a prison, such as homicide,
escape, aggravated assault on inmates or staff, and riots, are rare. The majority of
staff and prisoners never become the victims of such incidents.
Although high-risk and special management inmates constitute a small percentage
of the national inmate population, a disproportionate amount of staff and agency
resources must be allocated to them to maintain prisoner safety and institutional
security. Therefore, reducing the special management population can have significant cost implications for an agency. Recognizing correctional administrators’ need
for more effective means of identifying potential sources of problems in the inmate
population and more proactive strategies for addressing the issues associated with
these inmates, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) funded a project to
advance the state of knowledge about programs and policies that identify, classify,
and manage high-risk and special management prisoners. This report presents the
project’s findings.

Overview of Risk Assessment
In the context of corrections, the term “risk” refers to an inmate’s potential for serious misconduct within the prison setting, escape attempts, and recidivism and the
level of threat the inmate poses to public safety. The goal of risk assessment is to
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Executive Summary

reduce such incidents by studying the attributes of inmates who commit such acts
and comparing them with those of inmates who do not pose such problems.
Risk assessment involves two types of classification: external and internal. The
external classification process involves two decisions: whether to place the prisoner in the general population and, subsequently, what custody level (minimum, medium, or close/maximum custody) within the general population the prisoner should
be assigned to. Both decisions are critical to the safe and efficient operation of the
facility. Internal classification involves intrafacility decisions about where and with
whom a prisoner will be housed and the programs, services, and work assignments
that are appropriate for the prisoner. Internal classification systems are intended to
ensure that prisoners who are at risk are supervised differently from other general
population prisoners. Also, providing proper housing and treatment at the onset of
confinement affords the prisoner the opportunity to eventually return to a less
restrictive correctional environment.

Approaches to Risk Assessment
Correctional administrators have long relied on professional clinical judgment in
assessing prisoners for parole, inclusion in a security threat group (STG), trusty
positions, and placement in administrative segregation or protective custody. This
method has been favored because it requires only a professional with the skill and
experience necessary for the assessment. Unfortunately, professional judgment has
been shown to be by far the least accurate risk assessment method.
Dissatisfaction with relying on professional judgment has led to the development of
actuarial-based assessments, which are common classification tools in correctional
settings. Longitudinal studies of prisoners and offenders identify attributes associated with misconduct, escapes, and recidivism. These risk factors are then translated into a scoring system that assigns a numeric score, which can then be converted
into a risk category. The reliability (consistency in assessments) and validity (proof
that a risk factor is associated with the behavior to be predicted) of actuarial assessment are significantly higher than can be achieved with professional judgment. Furthermore, actuarial assessment can be performed by those without extensive
professional experience.
The latter advantage is also a limitation. Because actuarial assessment does not
allow for professional judgment, it may be overly rigid. A third method, adjusted
actuarial assessment, allows for modification of a scored assessment by considering
supplemental information (e.g., input from a variety of correctional specialists with
expertise in disciplines such as security, medicine, and mental health) that is not
incorporated into the actual scoring system.

Limitations of Risk Assessment
The key assumption in risk assessment is that high-risk inmates can be identified.
However, any classification system is subject to error. Although there is evidence of
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Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners

the predictability of the behavior of groups, reliably predicting the behavior of individuals within groups—such as which prisoners will engage in serious destructive
behavior and under what circumstances—is difficult, if not impossible. In part, this
is because of a large number of situational or environmental factors that are unpredictable in terms of their effect on behavior. For example, a chance meeting with
another prisoner belonging to a rival gang, a hostile interaction between staff and
the prisoner, or an unexpected decision to cancel a work detail are daily events that
may lead to a serious incident that is understandable in retrospect but could not have
been known in advance and prevented. Although a pattern to such incidents may
emerge over time, suggesting they are deterministic in nature, predicting them
remains problematic. This is in part why major incidents like riots, escapes, suicides, and assaults on staff and prisoners resulting in serious bodily injury are so difficult to prevent.

Reentry and Medical and Mental Health Needs
Reentry, the transition from a segregated inmate population to the general population or from incarceration to the community, is an issue of special concern with
regard to special management prisoners. Much more attention is now being given to
consideration of whether the lack of transitional programming for prisoners, combined with the accelerated number of releases, poses an additional public safety
threat that could slow down or reverse the gains made in reducing the incidence of
crime over the past several years. Recidivism rates for ex-convicts have been
described as excessively high. Although most prisoners are released via parole or
other forms of supervision, an increasing number are being discharged after having
served their entire sentence and therefore are not subject to any postrelease supervision requirements. Given that most maximum-security and administrative segregation prisoners are offered negligible programming and allowed minimal exposure
to normal human contact and that few programs are available to help these prisoners navigate the reentry process, unsupervised release should be viewed as a major
public safety issue.
The medical and mental health needs of special management prisoners also merit
special concern. There is growing evidence that a significant portion of the prison
population suffers from highly contagious and life-threatening diseases. A significant number of persons who pass through America’s prisons and jails are infected
with AIDS, HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other diseases that are easily transmitted
through illicit drug use and unprotected sexual behavior. Prison systems must identify these prisoners, give them the necessary level of medical care, and educate them
on how to avoid spreading the disease further. It may be necessary to house some
portion of these prisoners in segregated units where specialized forms of treatment
can more readily be provided. When releasing these prisoners, correctional systems
must ensure that medical treatment will be maintained while they are on parole
or under community supervision. At a minimum, soon-to-be-released prisoners can
be given information on where treatment can readily be obtained for a sustained
period of time.
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Executive Summary

The same recommendations apply to prisoners with major mental health problems.
BJS estimates that approximately 16 percent of the prison population suffers from
a mental health problem that requires some method of formal treatment. Undiagnosed and untreated mental health problems detract not only from the prisoner’s
well-being but also from the safety of the prison system. Growing evidence shows
that some prisoners placed in administrative segregation for violent and assaultive
behavior suffer from undiagnosed mental illness. Thus, the handling of special management prisoners must include the ability to diagnose and treat mental health conditions related to their disruptive behavior.

Risk Assessment Systems and Instruments
The number and type of instruments available for use in screening inmates for
a variety of risks and dangerous behaviors has increased significantly. The risk
assessment systems and instruments that have been used, or are being promoted for
use, within correctional agencies include internal management systems and instruments designed to assess general criminality, sex offenders, and violence and dangerousness.

Internal Management Systems
Internal management systems are used to determine how prisoners should be
housed within a particular facility or complex. These systems assume that prisoners have varying levels of aggressiveness or vulnerability that can be measured with
a questionnaire:
Adult Internal Management System (AIMS). AIMS relies on two instruments to identify inmates who are likely to be incompatible in terms of housing
and those who are the most likely to pose a risk to the safe and secure operation
of a facility. The first instrument, the Life History Checklist, focuses on the
inmate’s adjustment and stability in the community. The second instrument, the
Correctional Adjustment Checklist, is designed to create a profile of an inmate’s
likely behavior in a correctional setting.
Prisoner Management Classification System (PMC). PMC uses a semistructured interview supplemented by ratings of 11 objective background factors that
assess an inmate’s social status and offense history. The system also provides
detailed guidelines for safe and appropriate management of inmates within their
designated housing units after they are classified and highlights programming
approaches to prepare inmates for readjustment to the community.

Instruments To Assess General Criminality
Within the past 20 years, several states have individually begun testing and using a
diverse array of risk assessment instruments that assess criminal behavior, likelihood of recidivism, and the success of rehabilitative programs. The most commonly cited instruments in use by these and other jurisdictions are the following:
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Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners

Level of Service Inventory–Revised (LSI–R). This instrument primarily
assesses the respondent’s social situation within the community. It is best suited
for use with probationers and parolees as opposed to those who are incarcerated.
Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions
(COMPAS). COMPAS includes four major risk assessment scales (violence,
recidivism, flight, and community noncompliance) for use both in assessing an
offender’s appropriateness for community corrections and in making decisions
regarding release and case management supervision. It also evaluates psychosocial stressors—such as residence in a high-crime community, poverty,
vocational problems, social isolation, and scarcity of social supports—that may
be useful in designing case plans.
U.S. Board of Parole Salient Risk Guidelines. These guidelines include an
additive point scale to classify inmates by their risk level. The “salient factor
score” is based on two sets of factors associated with recidivism rates for
inmates released from federal prisons: the seriousness of the offense committed
and the likelihood of success or failure under parole supervision.
Client Management Classification (CMC) System. Developed for use in probation and parole services, CMC is essentially the same as the PMC system. It
is based on a questionnaire completed by probationers and parolees to determine both the level of supervision they should receive and the types of services
they may require.
Risk of Reconviction (ROC) Scale and Criminogenic Needs Inventory
(CNI). New Zealand’s ROC scale and CNI, which is a further development of
the ROC, include assessments of an inmate’s emotions, propensity towards violence, relationships, alcohol- and drug-related behaviors, impulsivity, and criminal associates.
Community Risk/Needs Management Scale (CRNMS) and Case Needs
Identification and Analysis (CNIA). The CNIA was designed to assess inmate
needs at admission. The CRNMS built on information included in the CNIA
and streamlined its design in order to evaluate criminal history risk, case needs,
the likelihood of reoffending, and the level of community supervision necessary
per offender.

Instruments To Assess Sex Offenders
The public’s growing awareness and fear of recidivism among released sex offenders have led to increased interest in identifying and treating them. The following
instruments are those most frequently used in adult corrections today to assess the
risk of recidivism in convicted sex offenders:

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Executive Summary

Rapid Risk Assessment for Sexual Offense Recidivism (RRASOR). The
RRASOR assigns a score based on four items found in inmates’ case files: prior
sex offenses, age at release, victim gender, and relationship to victim.
Static–99. Similar to the RRASOR, the Static–99 is an inventory of 10 items
found in inmate case files that reflect attributes of convicted sex offenders and
that were shown to be associated with recidivism in four separate Canadian and
U.K. samples.
Minnesota Sex Offender Screening Tool–Revised (MnSOST–R). This
inventory scores 16 items drawn from inmate files: 12 static variables related
to the offender’s criminal record and relationship to his victims, and 4 dynamic components that measure factors associated with age and behavior while
incarcerated.
Sexual Violence Risk–20 (SVR–20). Developed for use as a topical guideline
for risk assessments linked with studying violent sexual offenders, the Sexual
Violence Risk–20 incorporates information pertaining to an offender’s psychosocial adjustment and future plans. It also includes factors specifically related to the offender’s attitudes toward and history of committing sexual offenses.

Instruments To Assess Violence and Dangerousness
Two instruments were developed in Canada to assess psychopathic violence: the
Hare Psychopathy Checklist–Revised (PCL–R), and the Violence Risk Assessment
Guide (VRAG), which is also used to predict sex offense recidivism. Both instruments are intended for use only by a licensed psychologist or other mental health
professional working under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.

Methods of Identifying Gangs and Security Threat Groups
The Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Colorado Department of Corrections have
developed systems that assign an inmate points for having certain attributes associated with gang membership. Outside these two jurisdictions, the identification of
members of gangs and other STGs remains subjective. Typically, states develop
policies that require highly trained staff to be designated as specialists in the identification of STG inmates, their movements, and their illicit activities. These staff
draw on multiple sources of information, including tattoos, prior affiliations with
known gang members, gang-related literature, and the word of other prisoners.

Findings of the National Survey of the Management of
High-Risk Inmates
The survey, which was sent in 2002 to the correctional agencies of all 50 states and
the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico (hereafter referred to as “states”), was
designed to obtain information on the procedures used to classify high-risk inmates,
particularly those in protective custody or administrative segregation, and inmates
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Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners

with mental illnesses or medical problems. The last section of the survey asked for
information on new or model programs, including the name and location of the program, the target population, screening processes, programs and services offered, and
staffing levels.
The survey responses demonstrated little consensus on the use of even the most
basic classification terms such as “general population,” “protective custody,” and
“administrative” as opposed to “disciplinary” segregation. Further, very few correctional data systems were able to aggregate quickly and accurately the numbers and
types of prisoners in each of these discrete classification categories. Disagreement
about prison classification terms and delay in implementing automated data systems
are not new, but these issues made it difficult for some agencies to complete the survey fully. Many agencies either had limited access to the information requested or
stored their records in a way that prevented them from retrieving the data. Therefore, most of the survey results are based on a limited number of respondents.
Forty-one states and Puerto Rico completed and returned the survey, yielding a
response rate of 81 percent. The number of inmates ranged from 740 in Wyoming
to 157,142 in California. The states with the next largest inmate populations were
Texas, with 143,302, and Florida and New York, with populations of approximately 70,000 each. After Wyoming, the states with the smallest inmate populations
were New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia, all of which
reported fewer than 2,000 inmates.
In all states that reported general population data, the great majority of the inmates
(an average of 80 percent) were assigned to the general population, indicating that
there were no special security, medical, or mental health needs for most prisoners.
Overall, no major differences were found in the proportion of male and female prisoners in the general population in each state.
The special management category to which the highest proportion of prisoners was
assigned was administrative and/or disciplinary segregation. (Because of the variation in the responding states’ use of the terms “administrative” and “disciplinary,”
data on these two segregated populations were combined in compiling the survey
results.) On average, 5 percent of the total inmate population in the reporting states
was assigned to this status on any given day, although there was considerable variance among the states. The balance of the prison population assigned to a special
management status was in protective custody, mental health/mental retardation, or
medical infirmary units. The percentage of the total prison population housed in
each type of unit varied considerably among the states.
The majority of the survey respondents reported that both their male and female
inmate populations were increasing (66 percent of respondents and 61 percent of
respondents, respectively). Approximately one-third reported that their prison populations had declined or remained stable. A higher proportion of the states indicated that their special management populations had either decreased or remained
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Executive Summary

unchanged, and most agencies reported that inmate-on-staff and inmate-on-inmate
assaults had not increased.
Nearly all the states that responded to questions regarding high-security/maximumcustody prisoners restrict these inmates to their cells for 22–23 hours per day, limit
their contact with visitors, and require the use of restraints at all times when moving them; 68 percent allow maximum-custody inmates to have contact with other
high-security inmates. In 47 percent of the responding states, mentally ill inmates
who are disruptive are subject to the same maximum-custody policies as all other
inmates.
Special management inmates are eligible to return to the general population in every
state that responded to the survey, most commonly when their segregation time has
expired, they are no longer deemed a threat to institutional security, or staff has
approved their return based on improved behavior. However, only 69 percent of the
responding states provide some type of transitional program, and most of the programs designed to help inmates readjust to the general population serve only those
who are mentally ill.
The use of special management units has given rise to a significant amount of litigation, typically focusing on one of the following three issues: the criteria for
designation as a special management prisoner, the conditions of confinement in
such units, or the process for releasing the inmate back to the general prison population. The majority of consent decrees in place concerns mentally ill or medical
populations.
All states responding reported that all prisoners are screened for suicide risk, mood
disorders, and psychotic disorders. Nearly all of the responding states screen for
mental retardation and escape risk. Most of the responding states screen their prisoners for STG membership.

Identification and Review of Model Programs
Only a small number of states responded to the survey’s questions regarding model
programs, and most of the programs they described targeted inmates who had
already been placed in administrative segregation. No state reported programs or
policies directed at high-risk prisoners housed in the general population whose
actions had not yet led to their removal to a special management population. None
of the programs described had been formally evaluated to determine its effectiveness in reducing violence either among these prisoners or within the prison system
at large.
Based on the survey responses and independent sources, the project team identified
23 model programs in 15 states. Site visits were made to facilities of three jurisdictions that demonstrated well-structured, highly effective or promising programs:
Connecticut and Ohio, which have programs that focus on the disruptive prisoner
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Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners

who has been removed from the general population, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which operates an innovative program for female prisoners who have been traumatized by physical and sexual abuse before being incarcerated.

Connecticut Department of Correction
Most jurisdictions manage and house all high-risk inmates through a single administrative segregation structure, irrespective of differences in the nature of the risk the
prisoners represent to the institution’s safety or in their security and programming
needs. The Connecticut Department of Correction (CDC) has taken another
approach and developed a model called the Close Custody Phase Program that it has
adapted to the specific needs of different groups of high-risk inmates. The CDC’s
three Close Custody Phase Programs for high-risk inmates are the Close Custody
Gang Management Program, the Close Custody Chronic Disciplinary Program, and
the Administrative Segregation Transition Phase Program. The structure and program requirements of each unit are based on examination of outcome data and consideration of the needs and characteristics of the respective groups and are intended
to facilitate the inmates’ return to the general population, if appropriate. The process
includes regular and frequent reviews by the classification staff and structured
movement of the inmate through the levels, or phases, of the program until release.
CDC data show that violence has decreased significantly in its facilities, both in the
general population and in the high-risk units, since it began implementing programs
targeted to specific groups of high-risk inmates. The CDC approach is being replicated to some degree by Colorado and New Mexico.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) employs a wellstructured, well-validated inmate classification system with five basic security levels: minimum, medium, close, maximum, and high maximum. Inmates in each
security level may be assigned to a special management or segregation designation.
Those who commit disciplinary violations are placed in a restricted unit with one of
the following designations: administrative, security, disciplinary, and local control.
Inmates sent to a security, disciplinary, or local control unit are returned to the general population within a relatively short period of time. Those who the DRC believes
should be removed and segregated on an indefinite basis are assigned to either
administrative control, high maximum custody, or protective custody. All high
maximum-custody inmates are housed at the Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP).
The DRC built the OSP as a super maximum-security facility in response to a major
prison riot that occurred in the 1990s. Opened in 1998, the OSP has four levels of confinement with differing degrees of privileges. A treatment plan established for each
inmate outlines the types of programs the inmate is expected to participate in and the
areas of conduct in which the inmate is expected to improve. This treatment plan is
reviewed and updated as part of the inmate’s reassessment at 6-month intervals.

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Executive Summary

The rate of serious misconduct among OSP inmates is impressively low, undoubtedly because of the security precautions in effect at the facility. The absence of
behaviors such as banging on cell doors, destroying cell property, flooding cells, or
threatening staff is also noticeable, suggesting that placement in the OSP stabilizes
or suppresses the inmates’ institutional conduct.

Federal Bureau of Prisons
The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ New Pathways program offers female prisoners who
have a history of sexual abuse the opportunity to meet in small groups (10 or fewer
women) under the guidance of a psychologist to discuss the general topic of sexual
and physical abuse. Participants are given the opportunity to meet individually with
the supervising psychologist for followup sessions if issues raised in the group bring
up painful or disturbing reactions.

Issues and Recommendations
In the United States, the prevailing approach to managing high-risk and special
management prison populations has been to build larger, more secure, and heavily
staffed administrative segregation and super maximum-security housing units. Prisoners typically are placed in these units only after their destructive behavior has
made it obvious that they should be removed from the general population. As
demonstrated by the responses to the National Survey’s questions about model programs, much less consideration has been given to preventing violent incidents from
occurring in the first place through the use of classification tools, aggressive management techniques, and programming and treatment services designed to modify
prisoners’ behavior.
Research is needed to develop better classification tools and a more proactive
approach to managing high-risk and special management prisoners. Such research
will be hampered, however, until the states adopt a common terminology for classifying the prison population. At a minimum, the states should agree on a common
definition of each of the following categories and to the use of these categories to
designate all prisoners:
General population.
Special management:
❖ Administrative segregation.
❖ Disciplinary segregation.
❖ Protective custody.
❖ Severe mental health care.
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❖ Severe medical care.

Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners

The National Survey also revealed that few states had correctional data systems that
could quickly and accurately aggregate the numbers and types of prisoners in their
custody. The states are strongly encouraged to upgrade their correctional data systems so that they are capable of tracking and monitoring the prisoner population on
a daily basis according to the six basic categories listed above. State correctional
data systems should also provide more detailed information about the basis for
assigning a prisoner to a category and on the movement of prisoners from one category to another.
Research into proactive methods for preventing prison violence should include an
examination of the effects of environment on prisoner behavior. It is well known
among corrections professionals that prison architecture influences inmate behavior
and that similarly situated inmate populations can have very different rates of serious misconduct. It is strongly recommended that the states and the federal government initiate studies to determine the impact of architecture and prison management
methods on disruptive inmate behavior.
Such studies should include assessments of the often advocated but still highly controversial super maximum-security facilities. More information is needed on how
best to identify inmates who require this level of segregation, how long they should
remain segregated from the general population, what interventions should be used
to control their high-risk behavior, when and how they should be returned to the
general population, and how they behave after release from these units. In the
absence of such basic research, it is difficult to propose new methods for identifying such high-risk prisoners and to apply interventions that will help control and
manage them.

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Chapter

Introduction
During the past decade, prison systems have experienced increased pressure to
improve their approaches to classifying prisoners according to custody, work, and
programming needs. Litigation and overcrowding have caused classification systems to be viewed as a principal management tool for allocating scarce prison
resources efficiently and minimizing the potential for violence or escape. These systems are also expected to provide greater accountability and to help forecast future
prison bedspace and prisoner program needs. In other words, a properly functioning
classification system is seen as the “brain” of prison management. It governs many
important decisions, including those that heavily influence fiscal matters such as
staffing levels, bedspace, and programming expansion.
Objective prison classification systems were originally adopted in the 1980s, but by
the late 1990s, significant modifications, including new risk assessment measures
developed by statistical analysis centers, had improved classification practices. The
results of these improvements include a reduction in the number of overclassified
prisoners (i.e., those assigned to higher custody levels than necessary), more consistent custody decisions, validation of criteria for custody decisions, systematic
assessment of prisoner program needs, and increased institutional safety for both
staff and prisoners.

A properly functioning classification system is seen as the

Although most prison systems have implemented objective classification systems
that have proven effective in determining the custody level assigned to an inmate
designated for the general population, less attention has been devoted to identifying
inmates who should be placed in a special management category such as administrative segregation or protective custody. Such placements often occur after the fact,
when an inmate’s violent or disruptive behavior has made it obvious that he or she
should be removed from the general population.

“brain” of prison

Prisoners requiring special management encompass a variety of populations, including highly aggressive prisoners, sexual predators, youthful offenders (including
juveniles housed in adult facilities), gang members, the mentally ill, and the medically challenged. There is also a pool of prisoners in the general population who are
classified as “maximum” or “close” custody because of disruptive behavior patterns
or the suspicion that they may engage in such behavior in the future. These general
population prisoners should also be viewed as high risk, and may warrant special
observation, monitoring, housing, and programming. Such preemptive intervention
by staff members may negate the need for more restrictive interventions later on.

heavily influence fis-

management. It
governs many important decisions,
including those that

cal matters such as
staffing levels, bedspace, and programming expansion.

1

Chapter 1

In general, the majority of prisoners never
becomes disruptive or

Exhibit 1 shows the categories that have been established for high-risk prisoners—
those whose behavior is so problematic that they must be removed from the general population and placed in a very secure and heavily staffed unit or prison for
a substantial period of time—and special management prisoners. These categories
are not mutually exclusive. For example, a prisoner may be categorized as “chronic
misbehavior—assaultive,” but the prisoner’s conduct may also be related to a mental condition. Although most of these designations are based on subjective judgments, staff members are sufficiently trained and skilled in making such assessments
and can use additional sources of objective data to reach a determination.

difficult to manage.
The most current estimates are that approximately 10–15 percent of the nation’s
prisoner population falls within one of these special prisoner categories (exhibit 2).
Another 10–15 percent of the total population is considered maximum or close custody within the general population. In general, the majority of prisoners never
becomes disruptive or difficult to manage. The most serious forms of disruptive
behavior within a prison, such as homicide, escape, aggravated assault on inmates
or staff, and riots, are rare events. The majority of staff and prisoners never become
the victims of such incidents.
Exhibit 1. Typology of High-Risk and Special Management Inmates

2

Category and Assessment Method

Placement

Security threat group
Subjective assessment based on at least three sources of independent objective data as applied to well-defined agency criteria.

Administrative segregation or general
population—high custody.

Likely victim
Subjective assessment based on at least three sources of independent objective data as applied to well-defined agency criteria.

Protective custody or restricted general
population facilities.

Mentally ill
Standardized psychometric tests and clinical judgment by mental
health staff.

Mental health unit and/or administrative
segregation.

Chronic misbehavior—assaultive
Objective external classification.

General population—high custody, administrative segregation, or mental health unit.

Chronic misbehavior—nonassaultive
Objective external classification.

General population—high custody, administrative segregation, or mental health unit.

Nonsexual predator
Subjective assessment based on at least three sources of independent objective data as applied to well-defined agency criteria.

General population—high custody, administrative segregation, or mental health unit.

Sexual predator
Subjective assessment based on at least three sources of independent objective data as applied to well-defined agency criteria.

General population—high custody, administrative segregation, or mental health unit.

Developmentally disabled
Standardized psychometric tests and clinical judgment by mental
health staff.

General population (all custody levels) or
mental health unit.

Introduction

Exhibit 2. Nationwide Estimated Inmate Classification Levels for the Average
Daily Population
Custody Level

Percent

General population

80

Minimum/community

35–40

Medium

35–45

Maximum/close

10–15

Special populations

15

Administrative/disciplinary segregation

5–6

Protective custody

1–2

Severe mental health

1–2

Severe medical

1–2

Unclassified

5

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.

For example, in California’s 155,000-inmate prison system, the rate of serious incidents (defined as assault and battery, attempted suicide, suicide, possession of a
weapon, and possession of controlled substances) is approximately 8 per 100 prisoners per year.1 Assaults and batteries comprise about half of these incidents. There
were 21 suicides and 9 homicides in 2002. The stabbing rate is 0.4 per 100 prisoners. If one were to compute a homicide rate for the California Department of Corrections population, it would be approximately 8–9 per 100,000, only slightly
higher than the rate for the state’s citizens, which is 6.4 per 100,000. Given the
demographics of the California corrections system’s population, which is mostly
young males with criminal histories, one can argue that the homicide rate for this
population is actually lower among those who are incarcerated than those who are
on the street.

Reducing the special
management population can have significant cost implications
for an agency.

Although high-risk and special management inmates constitute a small percentage
of the national inmate population, a disproportionate amount of staff and agency
resources must be allocated to them to maintain prisoner safety and institutional
security. This draining of resources diminishes an agency’s ability to fund more productive services and programs for the larger general prisoner population. Therefore,
reducing the special management population can have significant cost implications
for an agency.

3

Chapter 1

NIC Goals and Objectives
Recognizing correctional administrators’ need for more effective means of identifying potential sources of problems in the inmate population and more proactive
strategies for addressing the issues associated with these inmates, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) funded a project to advance the state of knowledge about
programs and policies that identify, classify, and manage high-risk and special management prisoners. NIC established the following objectives for the project:
To examine the use of objective classification systems in assessing the level of
risk posed by different types of prisoners requiring special management.
To review the supervision and program strategies being used by correctional
systems to manage these inmates, especially those classified as high risk.
To consider the means by which high-risk and special management inmates
may be returned to the general prison population.
To examine processes for release of these inmates back into society and for their
continued followup.
To identify the best practices currently in use for managing high-risk and
special management prisoners.
To accomplish these objectives, NIC’s project team identified five primary research
topics that address key aspects of the management of high-risk and special management inmates:
Identification and selection. How are special management populations
defined? What groups are included? How are members identified? When are
they identified? Is an objective classification instrument used? When was it
developed and validated? What factors do assessment or classification instruments examine in the identification process? Are targeted inmates properly
identified and classified? How many inmates are currently classified in this
group?
Standards for conditions of confinement. What are the management consequences of being identified and designated as a high-risk inmate? Are special
housing and treatment programs associated with this designation? Are distinctive case management practices used for these inmates? To what extent are they
segregated from general population inmates? What supervision strategies are
employed in managing them? What level of services and privileges are provided?
Staffing. What are the staffing and training requirements for special management programs and units? To what extent do security and program staff work
together in the management of the program? What is the cost of the program?
4

Introduction

Program process. What are the treatment goals? How are decisions made to
return high-risk/special management inmates to the general inmate population?
How is the transition to the general population managed? How are long-term
inmates maintained in these programs? Is documentation of all management
activities available? Do periodic reviews of supervision and program needs
occur? Are supervision/program plans developed for each inmate designated
high risk or special management?
Community issues. What are the standards for parole or release of highrisk/special management inmates? What are the standards for supervision in the
community? What links exist between institutional and community treatment
programs? What is the survival rate for these prisoners when they are released
into the community?

Project Tasks
To achieve the objectives outlined above, the project team completed the following
tasks:
A review of the most significant current research on the topic.

The project team
conducted a national
survey of state correctional systems
to identify existing
approaches to the
classification and
management of high-

A national survey of state correctional systems to identify existing approaches
to the classification and management of high-risk and special management prisoners. (A copy of the survey is provided in the appendix.)

risk and special management prisoners.

Site visits to the programs judged to be the most effective and to have the greatest potential for application within other correctional systems.
This report presents the findings of the project team for each of these tasks. Chapter 2 provides an overview of risk assessment. Chapter 3 presents an inventory of
current risk assessment systems and instruments in use by state correctional systems. Chapter 4 summarizes the data obtained from state correctional agencies in
the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates. Chapter 5 catalogs
the best practices and model programs identified among the respondents to the
National Survey and presents case studies of some promising and effective programs. Chapter 6 offers recommendations for further refinement of special management programs and identifies areas for future research.

5

two

Chapter

Overview of Risk Assessment
In the context of corrections, the term “risk” refers to an inmate’s potential for serious misconduct within the prison setting, escape attempts, and recidivism and the
level of threat the inmate poses to public safety. The goal of risk assessment is to
reduce these incidents by studying the attributes of inmates who commit such acts
and comparing them with those of inmates who do not pose such problems.
Such risk factors can be classified as either “static” or “dynamic.” Static risk factors
tend to be historical and unchanging. For example, age at first arrest, history of violent felony convictions, and the severity of the current crime are static risk factors
that often appear in risk assessment measures. Dynamic risk factors are items associated with future behavior and can change over time. Current employment status,
education level, and marital status are examples of dynamic factors that are situational in nature and can change rapidly. There is some indication that dynamic factors are more important in predicting risk than static factors, as the former better
describe the individual’s current life situation (Wood and Cellini, 1999).

Providing proper
housing and treatment at the onset of
confinement affords
the prisoner the
opportunity to eventually return to a less
restrictive correctional
environment.

Risk assessment involves two types of classification: external and internal. The
process of external classification involves two decisions: whether to place the prisoner in the general population and to what custody level (minimum, medium, or
close/maximum custody) within the general population the prisoner should be
assigned. Both decisions are critical to the safe and efficient operation of the facility. Internal classification involves intrafacility decisions about where and with
whom a prisoner will be housed and the programs, services, and work assignments
that are appropriate for the prisoner. Internal classification systems are intended
to ensure that prisoners who are at risk of being placed in a special management
population are supervised differently from other general population prisoners. Also,
providing proper housing and treatment at the onset of confinement affords the
prisoner the opportunity to eventually return to a less restrictive correctional
environment.

Approaches to Risk Assessment
Correctional administrators have long relied on professional clinical judgment in
assessing prisoners for parole, inclusion in a security threat group (STG), trusty
positions, and placement in administrative segregation or protective custody. This
method has been favored because it requires only a professional with the skill and
experience necessary for the assessment. In general, no forms must be completed
7

Chapter 2

and no tests for reliability and validity are needed. Unfortunately, professional
judgment has been shown to be by far the least accurate risk assessment method
(Gottfredson and Gottfredson, 1993; Morris and Miller, 1985). Too often, such
judgments are no more than “gut” reactions that may vary from expert to expert with
regard to the same prisoner. Corrections tends to rely on this risk methodology for
some of its most important decisions, such as release to the community or placement in a high-security unit.

All risk assessment
systems, whether they
rely on professional
judgment, actuarial
scoring systems, or
a combination of
the two, are subject
to error.

Dissatisfaction with relying on professional judgment has led to the development of
actuarial-based assessments. Actuarial methods are common classification tools in
correctional settings. Longitudinal studies of prisoners and offenders identify attributes associated with misconduct, escapes, and recidivism. These risk factors are
translated into a scoring system that assigns a numeric score, which can then be converted into a risk category. A major advantage of actuarial assessment is levels of
reliability (consistency in assessments) and validity (proof that a risk factor is associated with the behavior to be predicted) that are significantly higher than can be
achieved with professional judgment. Furthermore, actuarial assessment can be performed by those without extensive professional experience.
The latter advantage is also a limitation. Because actuarial assessment does not
allow for professional judgment, it may be overly rigid. Inmate populations cannot
simply be scored. A third method, adjusted actuarial assessment, recognizes that
neither professional judgment nor actuarial assessment is sufficient in and of itself.
Adjusted actuarial assessment allows for modification of a scored assessment by
consideration of supplemental information (e.g., input from a variety of correctional specialists with expertise in disciplines such as security, medicine, and mental
health) that is not incorporated into the scoring system.

Limitations of Risk Assessment
All risk assessment systems, whether they rely on professional judgment, actuarial
scoring systems, or a combination of the two, are subject to error (false-positives or
false-negatives). Factors that may lead to such errors include unpredictable situational or environmental factors (e.g., chance meetings between members of rival
gangs or the effect of a facility’s architectural design or the warden’s management
style) and the inherent difficulty in predicting events with a low frequency of occurrence such as prison escapes, suicides, and homicides. These limitations are discussed in more detail below.

Types of Error
The key assumption in risk assessment is that high-risk inmates can be identified.
However, any classification system is subject to two critical types of error: falsepositives and false-negatives. False-positive errors occur when prisoners who pose
little or no risk are assigned to a special population category. A docile prisoner who
has been placed in administrative segregation for alleged gang behavior but who is
8

Overview of Risk Assessment

not involved in such activities is an example of false-positive classification. Conversely, false-negative errors occur when potentially disruptive prisoners are not
identified and removed from the general population. The failure to detect and segregate an active gang member can be potentially dangerous for the rest of the prisoners in general population housing and for staff.
False-positive classification errors can also lead to serious incidents, including
assaults on staff and prisoners, suicides or suicide attempts, and escapes. Such
episodes are disruptive and costly to a facility’s operation and expose the agency to
expensive litigation.

Situational and Environmental Factors
Although there is evidence of the predictability of the behavior of groups (macrolevel behavior), reliably predicting the behavior of individuals within groups
(micro-level behavior)—for example, which prisoners will engage in serious
destructive behavior and under what circumstances—is difficult, if not impossible.
In part, this is because of a large number of situational or environmental factors that
are unpredictable in terms of their effect on behavior. Modern physics developed
chaos theory to explain the variable effects of such factors. Chaos theory holds that
while patterns of phenomena exist within the physical sciences, a slight change in
such patterns will produce other radical and large-scale changes (Gleick, 1988).
The often-cited example of chaos theory at work in daily life is predicting the
weather. Because the phenomenon called weather is actually the product of a complex
set of natural forces that have a deterministic quality, it is possible to forecast what
is likely to be the weather at any given time. Yet weather forecasts often turn out to
be incorrect when a minor fluctuation in one of the factors involved results in a
weather pattern different from the one predicted—sometimes a severe storm, hurricane, or tornado (Gleick, 1988). Furthermore, the longer the forecast horizon (e.g.,
1 week versus 1 day), the more tenuous the predicted weather pattern will be. It is
the presence of too many factors that can behave in unexpected ways that compromises a weather forecast. In retrospect, however, it is always possible to explain why
a storm did or did not materialize as expected.

Chance meetings
with another prisoner
belonging to a rival
gang and unexpected
decisions to cancel a
work detail are daily
events that may cause

In the context of prisoners and prison management, a chance encounter in the life
of an inmate (or staff) can result in a serious incident that could not have been
known in advance and prevented. For example, a chance meeting with another prisoner belonging to a rival gang, a hostile interaction between a prisoner and staff, or
an unexpected decision to cancel a work detail are examples of daily events that may
cause a severe reaction that is understandable in retrospect but impossible to predict.
Over time, a pattern to such incidents may emerge, suggesting they are deterministic in nature, but predicting them remains problematic. This is in part why seemingly
chaotic major incidents like riots, escapes, suicides, and assaults on staff and prisoners resulting in serious bodily injury are so difficult to prevent (Duguid, 2000).

a severe reaction that
is understandable in
retrospect but impossible to predict.

9

Chapter 2

Unfortunately, few
if any studies have
assessed the impact
of architecture on
suppressing or
controlling prisoner
behavior.

The influence of architectural factors on prisoner and staff behavior must be noted
here. It would be difficult to find a correctional official, warden, superintendent, or
line officer who does not agree that a facility’s architectural design has a corresponding influence on prisoner behavior. Facilities that rely on open views of housing, dining, and recreation areas tend to produce fewer episodes of disruptive and
potentially dangerous behavior than those with numerous “blind” spots. Unfortunately, few if any studies have assessed the impact of architecture on suppressing or
controlling prisoner behavior, and it is unlikely in today’s fiscal environment that
many of the antiquated prison facilities still in use will be replaced in the near
future.
Corrections directors also have long known that similarly designed facilities with
similarly situated prison populations can produce very different rates of prisoner
misconduct, both within and across state prison systems. Each major system with
multiple facilities has wardens who are able to handle problem prisoners who
cannot be handled elsewhere. The field is also filled with stories of how prisoners
who were transferred to another state correctional facility suddenly started behaving differently.
Such variations in misconduct rates for prisons that are equivalent in design and that
house inmates with similar attributes are likely related to differences in the management style adopted by each prison administrator. Again, no studies have substantiated this observation, except for a few recent evaluations of the use of internal
classification systems in a select number of states. (These systems, the Adult Internal Management System (AIMS) and Prisoner Management Classification (PMC),
are discussed in the next chapter.)

Accuracy of Measurement and Low Base Rates
Two other factors that limit the predictive capability of correctional systems are the
accuracy of measurements and the low frequency, or base rates, of serious incidents.
Accuracy is the function of reliability, or consistency in making assessments, and
validity, or proof that a risk factor is associated with the behavior to be predicted. If
the accuracy in a risk assessment system’s measurements is low, the system will be
subject to a large amount of “noise” (that is, irrelevant or meaningless data).
The infrequency of several of the actions that correctional agencies seek to prevent
make these actions inherently difficult to predict. The most obvious examples of this
problem are escapes, suicides, and homicides. The base rates of these very serious
incidents are so low that, coupled with the measurement problems noted above, they
cannot be statistically predicted. As with rare events such as commercial airplane
crashes, the causes can be pieced together after the fact, but it is impossible to predict the event in advance. This is not to say that correctional systems should not
strive to understand such incidents and reduce their occurrence—only that they must
not have unrealistic expectations in such endeavors.

10

Overview of Risk Assessment

Special Topics: Reentry and Medical and Mental
Health Needs
Two issues have been identified as of special concern with regard to the management of prison populations: reentry of prisoners into the general prison population
or the community at large—particularly prisoners who have served their sentences
and are no longer subject to administrative supervision—and the disproportionately
high rates of chronic physical and mental illness among prisoners. In particular, the
management of mentally ill prisoners is crucial because their illness may make them
more susceptible to committing violent and disruptive behavior and to victimization
by other inmates. These two topics are discussed in more detail below.

Reentry
Reentry, the transition from a segregated inmate population to the general population or from incarceration to the community, is an issue of special concern with
regard to special management prisoners. Recidivism rates for ex-convicts have been
described as excessively high, although that conclusion depends on what definition
of recidivism is being used and which states are included in the analysis. For example, two national studies of recidivism show that while nearly two-thirds of released
convicts are rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor, only 40 percent are
returned to prison, mostly for technical violations rather than new felony convictions (Beck and Shipley, 1989; Langan and Levin, 2002). Recidivism rates also vary
depending on whether or not California is included in the analysis.
Nonetheless, much more attention is now being given to consideration of whether
the lack of transitional programming for prisoners, combined with the accelerated
number of releases, poses an additional public safety threat that could slow down or
reverse the gains made in reducing the incidence of crime over the past several
years. Exacerbating this problem is the growing percentage of released prisoners
who have completed their full sentences and therefore are not subject to any postrelease supervision requirements.

Much more attention
is now being given
to consideration of
whether the lack of
transitional programming for prisoners,
combined with the
accelerated number
of releases, poses an
additional public
safety threat.

It is estimated that in 2002 nearly 600,000 prisoners were released from prison
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003). Such record numbers of discharged prisoners
will inevitably lead to greater public attention to the issue of prisoner reentry to the
community. Unfortunately, however, this issue has received little attention in terms
of program planning, community preparation, or policy development (Petersilia,
1999).
Although most prisoners are released via parole or other forms of supervision,
an increasing number are being discharged simply because they have served their
entire sentence. This number is likely to grow as more states adopt truth-in-sentencing laws, which have been the topic of increasing discussion. According to
the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 20 states have adopted laws that require prisoners convicted of violent crimes to serve, at minimum, 85 percent of their
prison terms; 6 states have enacted truth-in-sentencing laws that require from 50 to
11

Chapter 2

75 percent of the sentence be served; and another 14 states have abolished discretionary parole (Ditton and Wilson, 1999).

Given that most
administrative segregation prisoners are
offered negligible
programming and
that few programs
are available to help
them navigate the
reentry process,
unsupervised release
should be viewed
as a major public
safety issue.

These trends, together with the increased use of mandatory minimum sentences and
reductions in the use of early release, or “good time,” credits mean not only that
prisoners will serve much longer prison terms, but also that they are less likely to be
paroled or to serve any time under parole supervision (Ditton and Wilson, 1999).
Some observers are concerned that the release of large numbers of prisoners who
are not subject to supervision requirements that help control and monitor their
behavior is a public safety problem. Moreover, prisoners serving time in truth-insentencing states may pose management problems for prison staff because the elimination of the possibility of earning early release credits may leave these prisoners
little incentive to adhere to prison rules.
For example, a recent study of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s administrative segregation system estimated that 2,000 prisoners are released from the various administrative segregation units directly to the community with no parole
supervision (Austin et al., 1998). In Nevada, more than half of the prisoners
released—some of whom were confined in maximum-security units at the time of
release—are discharged with no form of parole or community supervision (Naro,
2002). Given that most maximum-security and administrative segregation prisoners
are offered negligible programming and allowed minimal exposure to normal
human contact and that few programs are available to help these prisoners navigate
the reentry process, unsupervised release should be viewed as a major public safety issue (Austin, 2001).

Medical and Mental Health Needs
There is growing evidence that a significant portion of the prison population suffers
from highly contagious and life-threatening diseases. As shown in exhibits 3 and 4,
a significant number of persons who pass through America’s prisons and jail systems are infected with AIDS, HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other diseases that are easily transmitted through illicit drug use and unprotected sexual behavior. For prison
systems, in particular, it is important to identify these prisoners, give them the necessary level of medical care, and educate them on how to avoid spreading the disease further. It may be necessary to house some portion of these prisoners in
segregated units where specialized forms of treatment can more readily be provided. When these prisoners are released, it is important to ensure that medical treatment will be maintained while they are on parole or under community supervision.
At a minimum, soon-to-be-released prisoners can be given information on where
treatment can readily be obtained for a sustained period of time.
The same recommendations apply to prisoners with major mental health problems.
Based on prisoner self-reported data, BJS estimates that approximately 16 percent
of the prison population suffers from a mental health problem that requires some
method of formal treatment (Ditton, 1999). Although many may argue that this
12

Overview of Risk Assessment

figure underestimates the true level of mental health needs, it is certain that undiagnosed and untreated mental health problems detract not only from the prisoner’s
well-being but also from the safety of the prison system. Growing evidence shows
that some prisoners placed in administrative segregation because of violent and
assaultive behavior suffer from undiagnosed mental illness. For example, California
and New Mexico have recently established separate administrative segregation units
for prisoners who have severe mental health problems and require treatment.2 Thus,
the handling of special management prisoners must include the ability to diagnose
and treat mental health conditions related to their disruptive behavior.
Exhibit 3. Prevalence of Infectious Diseases Among U.S. Prison and
Jail Inmates, 1997

Growing evidence
shows that some

Prisons (%)

Jails (%)

Total Inmates
Infected

—

—

35,000–46,000

1.45–2.03

1.45–2.03

26,000–36,000

0.5

0.5

9,200

2.6–4.3

2.6–4.3

46,000–76,000

Chlamydia infection

2.4

2.4

43,000

Gonorrhea infection

1.0

1.0

18,000

behavior suffer from

Current/chronic hepatitis B infection

2.0

2.0

36,000

undiagnosed mental

17–18.6

17–18.6

303,000–332,000

Tuberculosis—disease

0.04

0.17

1,400

Tuberculosis—infection

7.4

7.3

131,000

Condition
Total HIV/AIDS
HIV infection (non-AIDS)
AIDS
RPR+ (syphilis)

Hepatitis C infection

prisoners placed in
administrative segregation because of
violent and assaultive

illness.

Source: From Prison to Home: The Effect of Incarceration and Reentry on Children, Families and
Communities. National Policy Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services and the Urban Institute, January 30–31, 2002 (http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/prison2home02/).

Exhibit 4. Estimated Number of Persons With Infectious Diseases
Passing Through U.S. Correctional Facilities, 1997
Condition

Released Inmates

Total in U.S. Population

Total HIV/AIDS

151,000–197,000

750,000

112,000–158,000

503,000

39,000

247,000

155,000

1,000,000–1,250,000

1,300,000–1,400,000

4,500,000

12,000

32,000

HIV infection (non-AIDS)
AIDS
Current/chronic hepatitis B infection
Hepatitis C infection
Tuberculosis—disease

Source: From Prison to Home: The Effect of Incarceration and Reentry on Children, Families and
Communities. National Policy Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services and the Urban Institute, January 30–31, 2002 (http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/prison2home02/).

13

three

Chapter

Risk Assessment Systems and
Instruments
The number and type of instruments available for use in screening for a variety of
risks and dangerous behaviors have increased significantly. This section presents the
major distinguishing attributes of the risk assessment systems and instruments that
have been used, or are being promoted for use, within correctional agencies. The
instruments are grouped in four categories: internal management systems, instruments to assess general criminality, instruments to assess sex offenders, and instruments to assess violence and dangerousness. Methods of identifying gang
membership and STGs are also discussed.

Few risk assessment
tools currently exist
to determine internal
classification and like-

Internal Management Systems

lihood for prison vio-

Internal management systems are used to determine how prisoners should be housed
within a particular facility or complex. These instruments assume that prisoners have
varying levels of aggressiveness or vulnerability that can be measured with a questionnaire. Once classified, the different categories of prisoner must be separated
from each other as much as possible, including by housing, programming, and recreation. Similarly, the staff assigned to these discrete housing units must be fully aware
of the different types of prisoners under their care and be trained in management
techniques appropriate for dealing with these prisoners. Few risk assessment tools
currently exist to determine internal classification and likelihood for prison violence;
most measures are based on predicting general criminal behavior outside prison.3

lence; most measures
are based on predicting general criminal
behavior outside
prison.

Adult Internal Management System
The Adult Internal Management System (AIMS), developed by Dr. Herbert Quay
more than 20 years ago, is one of the best-known internal management systems. It
attempts to identify inmates who are likely to be incompatible in terms of housing
and who are most likely to pose a risk to the safe and secure operation of a facility.
Potential predators can then be housed separately from more vulnerable inmates.
AIMS relies on two instruments to classify inmates according to a personality typology: the Life History Checklist and the Correctional Adjustment Checklist. The Life
History Checklist focuses on the inmate’s adjustment and stability in the community. It includes 27 items designed to assess a number of personality dimensions known
to be related to an individual’s potential to be housed successfully with other types
of inmates. The Correctional Adjustment Checklist is designed to create a profile of
15

Chapter 3

an inmate’s likely behavior in a correctional setting. Its 41 items focus on the
inmate’s record of misconduct, ability to follow staff directions, and level of aggression toward other inmates.
Raw scores, converted into t-scores, are used to classify inmates into groups. Originally, the group labels described personality types (e.g., Aggressive-Psychopathic,
Manipulative, Situational, Inadequate-Dependent, and Neurotic-Anxious). These
designations have since been revised to reflect differential rates of institutional misconduct called Alpha I, Alpha II, Sigma I, Sigma II, and Kappa.
Alpha I and II inmates are those most likely to present management problems related to the safety and security of the facility. Alpha I inmates are more likely to openly exhibit aggressive or assaultive behavior than other types of inmates, whereas
Alpha II inmates are more likely to be manipulative. Sigma I and II inmates are
unlikely to be assaultive but pose other management problems, such as disregard for
direct orders and disruption of the orderly operation of the facility. Alpha I and II
inmates are likely to be predators, whereas Sigma I and II inmates are at risk of
being victimized. Kappa inmates are those who are the least likely to present management problems and are neither predators nor prey.
AIMS has received only limited evaluation. Preliminary findings showed that facilities using AIMS experienced significantly lower rates of staff and inmate assaults
than facilities that did not use an internal classification system (Quay, 1984). In
South Carolina, serious disciplinary incidents decreased by 18 percent after AIMS
was implemented. Further research showed similar positive management outcomes
with AIMS in facilities housing women prisoners (Quay, 1984).
As of 2002, AIMS was being used by several facilities in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system and by some facilities of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and
Correction.4 The South Dakota and Missouri Departments of Corrections have fully
implemented AIMS. The South Carolina Department of Corrections implemented
AIMS but has discontinued its use as a housing assignment tool.

Prisoner Management Classification System
The Prisoner Management Classification (PMC) system was adapted from Wisconsin’s Client Management Classification (see page 20). Like AIMS, the PMC system
attempts to identify potential predators and victims and inmates who require special
programming or supervision, and it requires significant staff training for inmate
assessment, supervision, and interaction.
To classify inmates, the PMC system uses a semistructured interview supplemented
by ratings of 11 objective background factors that assess the inmate’s social status
and offense history. The system also provides detailed guidelines for safe and appropriate management of inmates within their designated housing units after they are
classified. Equally important, these guidelines highlight programming approaches
to prepare the inmate for readjustment to the community.
16

Risk Assessment Systems and Instruments

The PMC interview consists of 45 questions that require forced-choice responses. It
is conducted at admission by a specially trained officer and requires approximately
45 minutes to complete. The questions address the inmate’s attitudes regarding the
current offense; his or her criminal history (including juvenile offenses); family
relationships; relationships with staff, inmates, and peers; current difficulties (e.g.,
psychological problems, sexual harassment); and plans after release from prison.
The interviewer also completes eight behavioral ratings that assess the inmate’s
demeanor during the interview and records his or her impressions of the inmate’s
most and least urgent problem areas.
Inmates are then assigned to one of four groups: Limited Setting (LS), Casework
Control (CC), Selective Intervention (SI), and Environmental Structure (ES). LS
and CC inmates are expected to be more aggressive and more difficult to control,
whereas SI and ES inmates require minimal supervision but should be separated
from LS and CC inmates. When necessary, however, SI inmates may be housed with
LS and CC inmates.

Within the past
20 years, several
states have begun
testing and using

The PMC system was rigorously evaluated in Washington State and shown to be
useful in identifying and separating potential victims from potential predators and
in managing correctional populations. In facilities that implemented PMC, institutional misconduct decreased and staff and inmate safety increased (Austin, 1992).

instruments that
assess criminal behavior, likelihood of

Instruments To Assess General Criminality
Within the past 20 years, several states have individually begun testing and using a
diverse array of risk assessment instruments that assess criminal behavior, likelihood of recidivism, and the success of rehabilitative programs. Many states are
incorporating existing instruments into their own evaluative measures. For example,
Iowa and Oklahoma are currently validating the use of the Level of Service Inventory–
Revised in decisions regarding probation, custody level, and case management.
Other states are using measurement tools designed to enhance supervision and treatment of sex offenders (Colorado and Pennsylvania); evaluate risk of criminality and
recidivism for both general offenders and violent offenders (Iowa); and predict the
success or failure of probationers or parolees (Illinois) (Justice Research and Statistics Association, 2001). The most commonly cited instruments in use by these and
other jurisdictions are summarized below.

recidivism, and the
success of rehabilitative programs.

Level of Service Inventory–Revised
The Level of Service Inventory–Revised (LSI–R) is a risk assessment system that
was initially developed by the Correctional Service of Canada as part of its overall
effort to adopt a cognitive skills approach to rehabilitation.5 Over time, the early
proponents and developers of the LSI–R formed a private consulting firm to market
the system in the United States and other countries. The LSI–R consists of 54 items
in 10 substantive areas relevant to future criminal behavior:
17

Chapter 3

Criminal history (10 items).
Education and employment (10 items).
Financial (2 items).
Family and marital (4 items).
Accommodations (3 items).
Leisure and recreation (2 items).
Companions (5 items).
Alcohol and drug problems (9 items).
Emotional and personal (5 items).
Attitude and orientation (4 items).
The inventory is administered by an interviewer. The questions require either a
yes/no answer or a response to a structured scale ranging in value from 0 to 3. The
interviewer scores the offender on each item and then determines the offender’s
overall risk level. The scoring is based on the assumption that parole and probation
officers can be sufficiently trained to assess offenders properly on each of the inventory’s items; however, the training is intensive and requires staff to have strong interpretation skills.
Because many of the LSI–R items address the respondent’s social situation in the
community, this system is best suited for probationers and parolees as opposed to
those who are incarcerated. Most studies of the LSI–R have been done by
researchers with a direct financial interest in its profitability. Few independent studies have evaluated the system’s reliability and predictive value. One independent
study conducted for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole found a low
level of interrater reliability in the scoring process (Austin and Davies, 2001).
Another, more recent study of the LSI–Ontario Revision showed positive results
(Girard and Wormith, 2004).

Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative
Sanctions
Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS)
is a privately owned risk and needs assessment system for adult corrections. It
includes four major risk assessment scales (violence, recidivism, flight, and community noncompliance) for use both in assessing an offender’s appropriateness for
community corrections and in making decisions regarding release and case management supervision. The COMPAS assesses a comprehensive set of more than 20
well-validated criminogenic factors, including criminal history, violence history,
18

Risk Assessment Systems and Instruments

early onset of delinquency, substance abuse, criminal associates, criminal attitudes,
criminal personality (impulsivity, low self-control), and criminal opportunity (highrisk lifestyle). It also evaluates several psychosocial stressors (e.g., residence in a
high-crime community, poverty, vocational problems, social isolation, and scarcity
of social supports) that may be useful in designing case plans.
The comprehensive COMPAS battery of tests requires 45 to 60 minutes to complete.
However, jurisdictions can customize the assessment to fit their specific needs or
staffing and timing constraints by deleting selected scales or questions. For example, an agency interested only in screening for risk of recidivism could limit the
assessment to that scale, reducing the time requirement to about 8 minutes. The
COMPAS software program also maintains a database of information that allows for
the quick generation of reports and outcomes.
The COMPAS has not been independently evaluated. The Northpointe Institute for
Public Management in Michigan, which owns the COMPAS program, reports that
all risk factor items were developed using standard factor analytic and psychometric procedures and that most reach highly acceptable levels of reliability (Cronbach’s alpha greater than 0.70).6 Validation studies in more than 30 separate
jurisdictions across the United States have accumulated considerable statistical evidence that supports the predictive and construct validity and generalizability of
COMPAS scales across jurisdictions. For example, a recent 12-month study of
recidivism in a sample of more than 600 New York State probationers found the area
under the curve in a receiver operating characteristic analysis to be close to 0.80,
which is comparable or superior in predictive validity to most existing risk assessment systems.

U.S. Board of Parole Salient Risk Guidelines
The U.S. Board of Parole (now the U.S. Parole Commission) first established parole
guidelines in the early 1970s. The original goals of these guidelines were as follows:
To enhance the reliability and validity of parole release decisions.
To reduce disparity in sentencing decisions.
To reduce recidivism rates by denying parole to high-risk offenders and/or by
enhancing the level of supervision and services to such offenders.
To provide stability in projecting correctional system resources.
To accomplish these goals, the U.S. Board of Parole developed an additive point scale
to classify inmates by their risk level. The “salient factor score” is based on two sets
of factors associated with recidivism rates for inmates released from federal prisons:
the seriousness of the offense committed and the likelihood of success or failure
under parole supervision. This scale continues to be used by the U.S. Parole Commission for the cases over which it still has jurisdiction and by states that have
retained the use of discretionary parole (Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia,
19

Chapter 3

Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas). The most common items
analyzed in the current guidelines are:
Age (current age, age at first arrest or conviction).
Criminal record (arrests, convictions, incarcerations).
Institutional conduct (disciplinary record, program participation).
Prior performance on parole or probation (prior technical violations, recommitments).
History of alcohol or drug use.
Time served (actual time, percentage of time served).
Parole/release plans (employment, residency).
Mental health status.

Client Management Classification
The Client Management Classification (CMC) system is also referred to in the literature as the “Wisconsin system” because it was developed by Drs. Gary Arling
and Ken Lerner of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections for use in probation
and parole services. It has since been adopted by many probation and parole supervision agencies nationwide (Baird, 1981). CMC is essentially the same as the PMC
system described above (see page 16). It is based on a questionnaire completed by
probationers and parolees to determine both the level of supervision they should
receive and the types of services they may require. Like the PMC, LSI–R, and
COMPAS, the CMC system requires offenders to be reevaluated on a regular basis
to account for any changes in risk factors that might alter their supervision requirements or needs levels.

Risk of Reconviction Scale and Criminogenic Needs Inventory
New Zealand’s Risk of Reconviction (ROC) scale was designed to assess only an
inmate’s risk and not his or her needs. It has been statistically accurate in predicting
the likelihood of reconviction, seriousness of reoffense, imprisonment, and sentence. The Criminogenic Needs Inventory (CNI) is a further development of the
ROC system. Its predictions are based on behavior during the criminal’s offending
period (the day before and the day that the offense was committed) and a predisposing period (the 6 months preceding the offending period). Both inventories
include assessments of emotions, propensity toward violence, relationships, alcoholand drug-related behaviors, impulsivity, and criminal associates. Although administration of the CNI requires some expert supervision, it was designed to be used by
nonspecialist correctional administrators.
20

Risk Assessment Systems and Instruments

Community Risk/Needs Management Scale and Case Needs
Identification and Analysis
The Community Risk/Needs Management Scale (CRNMS) is a Canadian model
developed from the Case Needs Identification and Analysis (CNIA) instrument,
which was designed to assess inmate needs at admission. The CRNMS built on
information included in the CNIA and streamlined its design in order to evaluate
criminal history risk, case needs, the likelihood of reoffending, and the level of community supervision necessary per offender. The CRNMS has shown that the static
variables included in the criminal history analysis are better predictors of recidivism
during the early stages of release; dynamic variables, however, are more influential
over time.

Instruments To Assess Sex Offenders
The public’s fear of predatory sex offenders, which has been fueled by several wellpublicized crimes by released inmates, has led to legislation designed to extend
prison terms for such offenders, mandate their treatment prior to release, and require
their location to be made known to law enforcement officials and the public upon
their release. The growing awareness and fear of recidivism among released sex
offenders have led to increased interest in identifying and treating them. The instruments most frequently used in adult corrections today to assess the risk of recidivism in convicted sex offenders are discussed below.

Rapid Risk Assessment for Sexual Offense Recidivism
The Rapid Risk Assessment for Sexual Offense Recidivism (RRASOR), like the
LSI–R, was developed in Canada. It was designed to be a very simple but relatively accurate method for assessing the likelihood of convicted sex offenders to recidivate and return to prison. To avoid the need for a structured staff interview,
researchers originally tested seven “static” items found in inmates’ case files that
could be scored relatively easily by “nonprofessional” staff (Hanson and Thorton,
1999). Based on a series of validation tests, the researchers found that four items
(prior sex offenses, age at release, victim gender, and relationship to victim) could
be used successfully to predict recidivism rates for convicted sex offenders. The
RRASOR was later used in the development of the Static–99.

Static–99
The Static–99 was developed jointly by researchers from Canada and the United
Kingdom. It is an inventory of 10 static factors that reflect attributes of convicted
sex offenders and that have been shown to be associated with recidivism in four separate Canadian and U.K. samples (Hanson and Thorton, 1999). Like the RRASOR,
the Static–99 does not require an interview, as these items can be obtained from the
inmate’s case file. It is now being used by several parole boards, including the Texas
Board of Pardons and Parole and the Pennsylvania Sex Offender Assessment Board,
to screen inmates convicted of sex crimes who are also eligible for parole.7
21

Chapter 3

Minnesota Sex Offender Screening Tool–Revised
The Minnesota Sex Offender Screening Tool–Revised (MnSOST–R) scores 16
items, most of which are similar to those in the Static–99 and RRASOR. However,
the MnSOST–R requires more detailed data on the 12 static variables related to the
offender’s criminal record and relationship to his victims. It also adds four dynamic components that measure factors associated with age and behavior while incarcerated. No interview is required, as information on all 16 factors is drawn from
inmate files.

Sexual Violence Risk–20
Canadian psychologist Douglas Boer is currently developing the Sexual Violence
Risk–20 (SVR–20) as a basis for analysis and prediction of sexual violence. Similar to assessments of general violence, the SVR–20 incorporates information pertaining to an offender’s psychosocial adjustment and future plans (Dunne, 2000). It
also includes factors specifically related to the offender’s attitudes toward and history of committing sexual offenses. The SVR–20, however, does not include a tool
for classifying risk, but is intended rather to be used as a topical guideline for risk
assessments linked with studying violent sexual offenders.

Instruments To Assess Violence and Dangerousness
A pair of instruments devised in Canada have been found to be useful in assessing
inmates’ propensity to violent and dangerous behavior, and one also shows promise
in predicting recidivism by sex offenders. Both instruments have serious limitations,
however. They are both designed for use by mental health professionals, and neither
has been tested independently by persons with no financial interest in the instrument.

Hare Psychopathy Checklist–Revised
The Hare Psychopathy Checklist–Revised (PCL–R) is an instrument developed in
Canada by Robert Hare. It is now owned and distributed by the firm that controls
the LSI–R. The PCL–R consists of 20 items that consider both static and dynamic
factors. The assessment includes both a structured interview and a careful review of
the inmate’s file. Training is required to use the PCL–R, and this instrument is
designed for use only by a licensed psychologist or an individual with a master’s
degree in psychology who is working under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Although there is no research showing independent testing of the PCL–R by
persons without financial interest in the instrument, it is a widely accepted and used
measure of psychopathy.

Violence Risk Assessment Guide
The Violence Risk Assessment Guide (VRAG), also developed in Canada, is based
on research conducted at a single maximum-security prison (Ontario’s Penetanguishene). The VRAG has been promoted as an objective procedure to assess the
risk of violent recidivism in mentally disordered offenders, but subsequent research
22

Risk Assessment Systems and Instruments

suggested that the scale could also be used to predict sex offense recidivism (Quinsey et al., 1998). The assessment process requires a preexisting PCL–R score, completion of an additional interview, and a review of the inmate’s case file.
The classification accuracy of the VRAG is reported to be about 75 percent (Quinsey et al., 1998). However, correctional agencies concerned with cost and efficiency may not be interested in using the VRAG to measure the risk of sex offense
recidivism, given that professionally trained interviewers and careful file review are
required for the system to work properly. Little, if any, research shows that this
instrument has been tested independently by persons with no financial interest in it.

Methods of Identifying Gangs and Security Threat
Groups
In general, state prison systems do not have actuarial systems for assessing whether
an inmate is in an STG or other type of organized street or prison gang. Typically,
state policies require the designation of highly trained staff as specialists in the identification of STG inmates, their movements, and illicit activities. These staff draw
on multiple sources of information, including tattoos, prior affiliations with known
gang members, gang-related literature, and the word of other prisoners.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Colorado Department of Corrections have
developed systems that assign an inmate points for having certain attributes associated with gang membership. For example, if an inmate has a history of active gang
membership, certain types of tattoos, or is reported by another credible source as
being associated with an STG, the inmate will be given points for each of these
attributes. If the points reach a certain threshold, the inmate will be confirmed as a
member of an STG. Outside these two jurisdictions, the identification of members
of gangs and other STGs remains subjective.

BOP and the
Colorado Department of Corrections
have developed systems that assign an
inmate points for
having certain attributes associated with
gang membership.

23

four

Chapter

Findings of the National Survey
of the Management of High-Risk
Inmates
In 2002, a survey on the classification of high-risk and special management inmates
was sent to the correctional agencies of all 50 states and the District of Columbia
and Puerto Rico (hereafter referred to as “states”). The survey (see appendix) was
designed to obtain information on the procedures used to classify high-risk inmates,
particularly those in protective custody or administrative segregation, and inmates
with mental illnesses or medical problems. Several items requested information on
high-risk inmates housed in the general population and special practices associated
with their situation. The last section of the survey asked for information on new or
model programs, including the name and location of the program, the target population, screening processes, programs and services offered, and staffing levels.
Many of the jurisdictions that responded also provided detailed information on the
nature and operation of these programs, including policy statements, manuals, statistical reports, and program descriptions.
The survey responses demonstrated little consensus on the use of even the most
basic classification terms such as “general population,” “protective custody,” and
“administrative” as opposed to “disciplinary” segregation. Further, very few correctional data systems were able to aggregate quickly and accurately the numbers and
types of prisoners in each of these discrete classification categories. Disagreement
about prison classification terms and delay in implementing automated data systems
are not new, but these issues made it difficult for some agencies to fully complete
the survey. Many agencies either had limited access to the information requested or
stored their records in a way that prevented them from retrieving the data. Therefore, most of the results reported in the exhibits that follow are based on a limited
number of respondents.

Many agencies were
unable to fully complete the survey because they either had
limited access to the
information requested or stored their
records in a way that
prevented them from
retrieving the data.

Total Inmate Population
Forty-one states and Puerto Rico completed and returned the survey, yielding a
response rate of 81 percent. Exhibit 5 presents the total inmate population, broken
out by gender, for all 42 respondents. For Alaska and West Virginia, which did not
report counts of women prisoners, 2001 data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics
were used to estimate the total inmate population. The number of inmates ranged
from 740 in Wyoming to 157,142 in California. The states with the next largest
25

Chapter 4

Exhibit 5. Prison Population

The great majority
of the inmates were

State

Total Population

Male

Female

Alaska

4,969

4,593

376

housed in the general

Arizona

27,165

25,133

2,032

population, indicating

California

157,142

147,391

9,751

Colorado

15,241

14,207

1,034

Connecticut

18,348

17,056

1,292

5,460

5,084

376

that there are no special security, medical,

Delaware

or mental health needs

Florida

72,509

68,217

4,292

for most prisoners.

Georgia

45,820

42,951

2,869

Idaho

5,535

5,013

522

Illinois

42,733

40,115

2,618

Indiana

20,802

19,343

1,459

Iowa

8,103

7,461

642

Kansas

8,574

8,074

500

Kentucky

15,805

14,794

1,011

Maryland

23,717

22,617

1,100

Massachusetts

10,197

9,562

635

Michigan

47,357*

45,242

1,933

Minnesota

6,626

6,234

392

Missouri

29,132

26,970

2,162

Montana

2,275

2,112

163

Nebraska

3,932

3,578

354

New Hampshire

1,381

1,276

105

New Jersey

22,657

21,478

1,179

New Mexico

5,781

5,268

513

inmate populations were Texas, with 143,302, and Florida and New York, with populations of approximately 70,000 each. After Wyoming, the states with the smallest
inmate populations were New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia, all of which reported fewer than 2,000 inmates.

General Population
In all states that reported general population data, the great majority of the inmates
were housed in the general population, indicating that there are no special security,
medical, or mental health needs for most prisoners (exhibit 6). With the exception
26

Findings of the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates

Exhibit 5 continued
State

Total Population

Male

Female

67,554

64,392

3,162

1,131

1,021

110

Ohio

44,645

42,324

2,321

Oklahoma

22,274

20,112

2,162

Oregon

11,023

10,385

638

Pennsylvania

37,995

36,290

1,705

Puerto Rico

15,440

14,907

533

Rhode Island

3,295

3,093

202

South Carolina

21,684

20,219

1,465

South Dakota

2,864

2,623

241

17,587

16,693

894

143,302

132,655

10,647

Vermont

1,761

1,654

107

Virginia

33,976

31,632

2,344

Washington

14,871

13,819

1,052

1,338

992

346

Wisconsin

21,106

19,862

1,244

Wyoming

740

617

123

1,063,847

997,059

66,606

New York
North Dakota

Tennessee
Texas

West Virginia

Total

There were no major
differences in the

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.
The counts of women prisoners in Alaska and West Virginia, which did not report this information, are 2001
data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (Paige Harrison and Allen Beck, Prisoners in 2001, Washington,
DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002).

proportion of male

Note: Nine states and the District of Columbia did not respond to the survey: Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii,
Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, and Utah.

in the general popula-

*Includes

182 inmates for whom information on gender was not available.

and female prisoners

tion in each state.

of Georgia, which reported that only 36 percent of its female prisoners were housed
in the general population (45 percent fewer than male prisoners), there were no
major differences in the proportion of male and female prisoners in the general population in each state (exhibit 7). The apparent disparity between Georgia and the
other reporting states may be the result of classification policies or the state’s definition of general population; however, the percentage of male inmates in the general population in Georgia’s prisons is more comparable to the percentages reported
by the other states.
Because Alaska and West Virginia did not report counts of women prisoners, their
general and special management population data reflect only their male prisoners.
27

Chapter 4

Exhibit 6. Prison Population Housed in General Population
Number of Inmates
Total
Population

General
Population

Percentage in
General Population

Alaska

4,969

4,340*

88

Arizona

27,165

19,438

72

California

157,142

124,620

79

Colorado

15,241

10,950

72

Connecticut

18,348

13,051

71

5,460

4,967

91

Florida

72,509

63,758

88

Georgia

45,820

29,403

64

Idaho

5,535

5,212

94

Illinois

42,733

37,220

87

Indiana

20,802

16,562

80

Kansas

8,574

8,070

94

Kentucky

11,305†

7,771

69

Maryland

23,717

21,421

90

Massachusetts

10,197

6,379

63

Michigan

47,357

34,638

73

Minnesota

6,626

6,167

93

Missouri

29,132

20,660

71

Montana

2,275

2,101

92

Nebraska

3,932

3,717

95

New Hampshire

1,381

1,239

90

New Jersey

22,657

20,459

90

New Mexico

5,781

5,011

87

67,554

58,290

86

State

Delaware

New York

Iowa did not define general population information for men or women in its
response to the survey.

Special Management Populations
The survey asked respondents to report the numbers of male and female inmates
assigned to the following types of special management units: administrative segregation, disciplinary segregation, protective custody, mental health/mental retardation,
28

Findings of the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates

Exhibit 6 continued
Number of Inmates
State
North Dakota

Total
Population

General
Population

Percentage in
General Population

1,131

842

74

Ohio

44,645

41,879

94

Oregon

11,023

8,953

81

Pennsylvania

37,995

28,859

76

Puerto Rico

15,440

14,741

95

Rhode Island

3,295

3,245

98

South Carolina

21,684

15,791

73

South Dakota

2,864

2,637

92

17,587

14,261

81

143,302

106,999

75

Vermont

1,761

1,702

97

Virginia

33,976

22,605

67

5 percent of the total

Washington

14,871

12,590

85

inmate population

59

was housed in admin-

Tennessee
Texas

West Virginia

1,338

743*

Wisconsin

21,106

19,670

93

Wyoming

740

603

81

1,055,744

847,178

80

Total

On average, only

istrative or disciplinary segregation,

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.
The total inmate populations of Alaska and West Virginia were calculated using Bureau of Justice Statistics
2001 counts of female inmates (Paige Harrison and Allen Beck, Prisoners in 2001, Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002).

although there is

Notes: Iowa and Oklahoma did not report the number of inmates in the general population. Oklahoma,
however, did report the gender distribution of its inmates housed in the general population (see exhibit 7).

among the reporting

*Male

states.

inmates only. State did not report data on female inmates.

†Excludes

inmates housed in local jails, for whom classification data were not available at the time
of the survey.

considerable variance

and 24-hour medical infirmary. However, because of the variation in agency definitions of “administrative” and “disciplinary,” data on the segregated populations have
been combined. The remaining special management population counts, though
small, are reported separately.

Administrative and Disciplinary Segregation
Of the 40 states that reported inmate counts for these categories, 38 had less than 10
percent of their prison inmates in administrative or disciplinary segregation units
(exhibit 8). At 16 percent, West Virginia had the highest percentage, followed by
29

Chapter 4

Exhibit 7. Gender Distribution of Inmates Housed in General Population
Percentage of Inmates
State

Male

Female

Alaska

94

NA

Arizona

70

89

California

79

83

Colorado

71

81

Connecticut

71

72

Delaware

92

82

Florida

88

93

Georgia

66

36

Idaho

94

99

Illinois

87

88

Indiana

79

89

Kansas

94

98

Maryland

90

90

Massachusetts

62

67

Michigan

73

83

Minnesota

93

93

Missouri

71

69

Montana

92

92

Nebraska

94

98

New Hampshire

89

96

New Jersey

90

94

New Mexico

86

96

New Mexico at 13 percent. Several states reported segregating only 1 percent of
their inmates. These variations may reflect differences in how states classify prisoners or in how they define administrative and disciplinary segregation. On average,
only 5 percent of the total inmate population in the reporting states was housed in
administrative or disciplinary segregation.

Protective Custody
Thirty-one states reported data on prisoners categorized as protective custody
inmates (exhibit 9). The proportions are lower for this category than for administrative or disciplinary segregation, with states reporting from less than 1 percent to a
high of 4 percent (Tennessee). Overall, the use of protective custody was relatively
infrequent.
30

Findings of the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates

Exhibit 7 continued
Percentage of Inmates
State

Male

Female

New York

86

84

North Dakota

74

75

Ohio

100

100

Oklahoma

100

96

Oregon

82

74

Pennsylvania

76

82

Puerto Rico

95

98

Rhode Island

98

100

South Carolina

73

65

South Dakota

92

93

Tennessee

80

94

Texas

76

59

Vermont

97

96

Virginia

66

77

Washington

84

90

West Virginia

75

NA

Wisconsin

93

93

Wyoming

81

83

Total

80

79

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.
Note: Iowa did not report general population data. Kentucky reported the total number of inmates housed
in the general population (see exhibit 6), but did not report the distribution of prisoners by gender.

Several states provide
special programming

NA= not available.

for mentally ill inMental Health Units

mates, whether in a

The number of inmates housed separately in mental health units was extremely
small. Most of the 34 states that responded to this question reported that 1 percent
or less of their total prison population was housed in such units (exhibit 10). The
states with the highest rates were Georgia (12 percent) and Alaska (5 percent).

segregation unit or
a mental health unit.

Several states reported that they provide special programming for mentally ill
inmates, whether they are housed in a segregation unit or a mental health unit. For
example, Washington State’s Special Offender Unit incorporates individual and
group therapy, basic and psychological health education classes, and life skills
training for inmates with a mental illness or those who are in acute distress and are
31

Chapter 4

Exhibit 8. Inmates in Administrative or Disciplinary Segregation
Number in Segregation
State

Female

159

NA

159

California

5,908

219

6,127

4

Colorado

1,228

33

1,261

8

Connecticut

441

10

451

3

Delaware

344

25

369

7

Florida

4,854

78

4,932

7

Georgia

1,925

58

1,983

4

200

0

200

4

Illinois

2,565

121

2,686

6

Indiana

1,092

27

1,119

5

Kansas

460

9

469

6

Kentucky

508

43

551

4

Maryland

292

18

310

1

Massachusetts

260

20

280

3

2,101

31

2,132

5

393

20

413

6

Missouri

1,697

34

1,731

6

Montana

67

3

70

3

Nebraska

94

8

102

3

8

2

10

1

1,428

31

1,459

6

748

22

770

13

Alaska

Idaho

Michigan
Minnesota

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico

Total

Percentage of Total
Prison Population

Male

3*

considered suicidal. The program’s goal is to stabilize inmates and return them to
the general population, although the length of participation can range from 6 months
to 15 years. Ohio’s super maximum-security prison, which is described later in this
report, is required to provide daily mental health treatment services, in recognition
that many “acting out” behaviors are related to an undiagnosed and untreated mental health problem.

Medical Units
Thirty-two states provided counts of prisoners housed in a separate medical unit or
facility. This category constituted the smallest of the special management populations and the lowest percentage (less than 1 percent) of the total prison population
32

Findings of the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates

Exhibit 8 continued
Number in Segregation
State

Male

Female

Total

Percentage of Total
Prison Population

New York

4,458

44

4,502

7

52

5

57

5

Ohio

300

4

304

1

Oklahoma

338

210

548

3

Oregon

785

19

804

7

2,284

37

2,321

6

Puerto Rico

188

1

189

1

Rhode Island

161

7

168

5

South Carolina

655

20

675

3

South Dakota

190

15

205

7

Tennessee

1,050

11

1,061

6

Texas

9,028

99

9,127

6

Vermont

6

4

10

1

Virginia

1,994

51

2,045

6

Washington

564

29

593

4

West Virginia

161

NA

161

16*

Wisconsin

1,283

174

1,457

7

Wyoming

14

4

18

2

50,283

1,546

51,829

5

North Dakota

Pennsylvania

Total

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.
Note: Arizona and Iowa did not report counts of inmates in administrative or disciplinary segregation.
NA= not available.
*Male

inmates only. State did not report data on female inmates.

(exhibit 11). Several states reported that their agencies do not house medically ill
inmates in separate units unless they have a life-threatening, contagious, or other
severe illness. Some states transfer prisoners with these types of medical conditions
to public medical centers outside the prison system.
In Michigan, five facilities have specialized units available for inmates with severe
auditory or visual impairments in various custody levels. The state also uses community providers, including hospitals and nursing homes. There also is one geriatric
unit at a level II (medium security) facility that is designed to manage the special
medical needs of elderly inmates.

33

Chapter 4

Exhibit 9. Inmates in Protective Custody
Number in Protective Custody
Male
11

Female
NA

Arizona

759

10

769

3

18

0

18

<1

225

8

233

1

19

0

19

<1

201

0

201

<1

Idaho

64

0

64

1

male and female

Illinois

508

3

511

1

prison populations

Indiana

277

0

277

1

Kansas

34

1

35

<1

184

0

184

1

30

0

30

<1

California

The majority of sur-

Connecticut

vey respondents indi-

Delaware

cated that both their

were increasing. One-

Florida

Kentucky

Total
11

Percentage of Total
Prison Population
<1*

State
Alaska

third of the respon-

Massachusetts

dents reported that

Michigan

370

0

370

1

their prison popula-

Missouri

812

0

812

3

Montana

0

9

9

<1

Nebraska

106

0

106

3

51

0

51

<1

181

0

181

<1

tions had declined
or remained stable.

New Jersey
Ohio

A model program in Washington State is designed to protect ill inmates without taking up space in medical infirmaries. The Assisted Living Facility provides 24-hour
medical care and handicapped-accessible accommodations for sick or disabled prisoners and also teaches inmates to assist each other with their medical and daily
needs.

Inmate Population Trends
The nation has witnessed considerable growth in the prison population since 1980.
Although BJS data show that the prison populations of 9 states declined in 2002,
nationwide, the prison population grew 2.6 percent—less than the average annual
growth of 3.6 percent since 1995, but up from 1.1 percent in 2001 (Harrison and
Beck, 2002, 2003). The National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates
asked state correctional agencies whether, during the past year, their prison population had increased, decreased, or remained unchanged. As exhibit 12 shows, the
majority of those who responded indicated that both their male and female prison

34

Findings of the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates

Exhibit 9 continued
Number in Protective Custody
State
Oklahoma

Male
77

Female
0

Total
77

Percentage of Total
Prison Population
<1

Oregon

58

0

58

1

Puerto Rico

70

41

111

1

Rhode Island

22

0

22

1

South Carolina

14

1

15

<1

South Dakota

0

0

0

0

755

7

762

4

2,935

0

2,935

2

68

0

68

<1

114

0

114

1

West Virginia

6

NA

6

Wisconsin

6

0

6

<1

Wyoming

11

0

11

2

7,986

80

8,066

1

Tennessee
Texas
Virginia
Washington

Total

1*

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.
Note: Eleven states did not report counts of inmates in protective custody: Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

Most agencies reported that the level of
violence and other

NA= not available.
*Male

inmates only. State did not report data on female inmates.

types of disruptive
behavior is either

populations were increasing (66 percent of respondents and 61 percent of respondents, respectively). Approximately one-third of the respondents reported that their
prison populations had declined or remained stable.

stable or declining.

A higher proportion of states indicated that their special management populations
had either decreased or remained unchanged, although some respondents indicated
that their responses were estimates based on agency officials’ recent experiences in
managing special or high-risk prisoners. Similarly, most agencies reported that
inmate-on-staff and inmate-on-inmate assaults had not increased. Of the states
responding, 53 percent reported that inmate-on-staff assaults had decreased and 46
percent reported that inmate-on-inmate assaults had decreased. These declines were
credited to an aging prison population, better inmate management and classification
policies, increased inmate participation in counseling and other mental health programs, and the institution of zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies. States that
reported increases in inmate assaults frequently attributed this trend to crowding,
insufficient staff, and cutbacks in staff training (both initial and in-service).

35

Chapter 4

Exhibit 10. Inmates in Mental Health Units
Number in Mental Health Units
Male
244

Female
NA

Arizona

339

31

370

1

Colorado

226

12

238

2

Connecticut

413

12

425

2

33

42

75

1

101

0

101

<1

4,560

1,063

5,623

12

Idaho

40

0

40

1

Illinois

382

18

400

1

Indiana

77

0

77

<1

166

0

166

1

38

35

73

1

Michigan

860

62

922

2

Minnesota

39

7

46

1

Missouri

13

2

15

<1

Montana

12

0

12

1

New Hampshire

44

0

44

3

New Jersey

358

37

395

2

New Mexico

119

0

119

2

New York

723

32

755

1

Delaware
Florida
Georgia

Kentucky
Massachusetts

Total
244

Percentage of Total
Prison Population
5*

State
Alaska

High-Security/Maximum-Custody Populations
Several questions were directly aimed at the most visible special management population: high-security or maximum-custody prisoners. The survey defined this category of prisoners as those who had been removed from the general population for
an indefinite period of time because of their involvement in serious or repetitive rule
infractions. General population prisoners classified as maximum, high, or close custody were not included because, although subject to the restrictions associated with
maximum custody, they have full access to the programs and work assignments
available to other general population prisoners. Many general population prisoners
classified as maximum custody do not present management problems and are so
classified because of the crime they committed, their prison sentence, or a violent
event that occurred many years in the past.

36

Findings of the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates

Exhibit 10 continued
Number in Mental Health Units
State
North Dakota

Male
6

Female
0

Total
6

Percentage of Total
Prison Population
1

Ohio

249

0

249

1

Oklahoma

189

64

253

1

48

0

48

<1

Pennsylvania

159

7

166

<1

Puerto Rico

47

21

68

<1

South Carolina

379

78

457

2

South Dakota

19

0

19

1

2,391

138

2,529

2

Vermont

7

0

7

<1

Virginia

319

102

421

1

Washington

214

6

220

2

West Virginia

27

NA

27

3*

Wyoming

24

0

24

3

12,865

1,769

14,634

2

Oregon

Texas

Total

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.
Note: Eight states did not report counts of inmates in mental health units: California, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
NA= not available.
*Male

inmates only. State did not report data on female inmates.

As defined by the survey, high-security/maximum-custody prisoners are those
housed in super maximum-security prisons, “high-control” units, or more traditional administrative segregation units. Exhibit 13 lists the basic policies governing
inmates in such units and the proportion of states employing each policy. Nearly all
the states restrict these prisoners to their cells for 22–23 hours per day, limit their
contact with visitors, and require the use of restraints at all times when moving
them. There was more variation in other policies related to maximum custody. Of
the states that responded, 68 percent allow maximum-custody inmates to have contact with other high-security inmates. The amount of out-of-cell time allowed ranges
from less than 1 hour per day (10 percent) to 3 or more hours per day (23 percent).
The majority of the responding states (69 percent) allow 1–2 per day.

In 47 percent of the
responding states,
mentally ill inmates
who are disruptive
are subject to the
same maximumcustody policies as
all other inmates.

In 47 percent of the responding states, mentally ill inmates who are disruptive are
subject to the same maximum-custody policies as all other inmates. Examples of
states that make other provisions for mentally ill inmates who become disruptive

37

Chapter 4

Exhibit 11. Inmates in Medical Units or Facilities

Although special

Number in Medical Units/Facilities
State
Alaska

Male
2

Female
NA

Total
2

Percentage of Total
Prison Population
0*

Arizona

62

0

62

0

Colorado

45

3

48

0

lation in every state

Connecticut

64

17

81

0

that responded to

Delaware

29

1

30

1

the survey, only

Florida

20

4

24

0

Georgia

81

5

86

0

Idaho

12

0

12

0

states provide some

Illinois

582

9

591

1

type of transitional

Indiana

51

0

51

0

Kentucky

2

0

2

0

Maryland

51

2

53

0

Massachusetts

38

20

58

1

Michigan

151

3

154

0

Missouri

46

0

46

0

Montana

6

0

6

0

New Hampshire

5

2

7

1

New Jersey

113

0

113

1

New York

581

30

611

1

management inmates
are eligible to return
to the general popu-

69 percent of these

program.

include Virginia, which assigns mentally ill prisoners to mental health programs
rather than administrative segregation, and Colorado, where mentally ill inmates can
be assigned to administrative segregation, but in a specialized facility with correctional staff trained to handle psychological illnesses.

Transition to the General Population
Special management inmates are eligible to return to the general population in every
state that responded to the survey, most commonly when their segregation time has
expired, they are no longer deemed a threat to institutional security, or staff has
approved their return based on improved behavior. However, only 69 percent of the
responding states provide some type of transitional program. Furthermore, most of
the programs designed to help inmates readjust to the general population, including
those instituted in Indiana, Massachusetts, and Arizona, serve only those who are
mentally ill. Most of the programs in place are “stepdown” programs that gradually reintroduce the inmate to the general population. In Florida and Nebraska, reintegration is based on earning increased privileges with positive behavior.
38

Findings of the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates

Exhibit 11 continued
Number in Medical Units/Facilities
State
North Dakota

Male

Female

Total

Percentage of Total
Prison Population

6

1

7

1

Oklahoma

27

22

49

0

Oregon

23

0

23

0

Pennsylvania

140

14

154

0

Puerto Rico

697

47

744

5

South Carolina

42

3

45

0

South Dakota

2

1

3

0

122

0

122

0

Vermont

2

0

2

0

Virginia

135

6

141

0

West Virginia

18

NA

18

1*

Wisconsin

42

0

42

0

Wyoming

11

0

11

2

3,208

190

3,398

0

Texas

Total

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.
Note: Ten states did not report counts of inmates in medical or infirmary units: California, Iowa, Kansas,
Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Washington.
NA= not available.
*Male

inmates only. State did not report data on female inmates.

Most of the programs
The survey invited states that provide transitional programming to describe their
programs. Several states, including the following, reported new programs:
Michigan implemented a three-stage reintegration program in November 2000.
The program essentially creates a new classification level: a modified general
population for high-risk inmates.
Florida implemented an innovative program based on cognitive behavioral
learning and incentives called Rethinking Personal Choice (RPC). RPC facilitates the transition from close management to the general population by integrating work experience, group learning and recreation, volunteer experiences,
and personal expression (through writing a journal). After the program was
implemented, the number of high-risk inmates who successfully made the transition to the general population increased and the time an inmate spent in close
management custody decreased (Moore, Dugger, and Nimer, 2002).

designed to help
inmates readjust to
the general population serve only those
who are mentally ill.

39

Chapter 4

Exhibit 12. Estimates of Current Prison Population Trends
Number of
States
Increasing Decreasing Unchanged Reporting
Trend (% states reporting)

Variable
Total prison population
Male

66

20

14

35

Female

61

24

15

33

Male

58

26

16

31

Female

53

27

20

30

Male

46

15

39

33

Female

17

20

63

30

Male

33

17

50

30

Female

28

17

55

29

Male

31

19

50

32

Female

40

20

40

30

Male

25

22

53

32

Female

23

3

73

31

Male

55

10

36

31

Female

48

7

45

29

Male

39

19

42

31

Female

31

0

69

29

Inmate on staff

24

53

19

42

Inmate on inmate

27

46

27

37

General population

Maximum custody

Special management population
Administrative segregation

Disciplinary segregation

Protective custody

Mental health unit

Medical unit or facility

Assaults

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.
Note: Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding or errors by reporting agencies.

40

Findings of the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates

Exhibit 13. Policies Governing High-Security/Maximum-Custody Inmates
States With
Policy in Place

Number of
States
Reporting

Number

Percent

24-hour restriction

42

40

95

Contact with other high-security
inmates allowed

41

28

68

Contact with visitors allowed

41

39

95

Restraints used when escorting prisoner

41

37

90

Less than 1

39

4

10

1–2

39

27

69

3 or more

39

9

23

38

18

47

Policy

Out-of-cell time (hours/day)

Same policies apply to disruptive
mentally ill prisoners

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.
Note: “High security/maximum custody” is defined as removal from the general population for an
indefinite period because of serious or repetitive rule infractions.

Iowa introduced a voluntary program for inmates with long-term disciplinary
problems that provides courses on “thinking for success” and anger management as well as substance abuse treatment. Although the program was still in its
first year at the time of the survey, 18–20 male inmates were enrolled and another
9 had completed it successfully. This program is similar to one in Colorado that
provides mental and medical health services and focuses on cognitive strengthening, vocational training, and education. The Colorado program graduates
about 60 inmates a year.

Consent Decrees
The use of special management units has given rise to a significant amount of litigation, typically focusing on one of the following three issues: the criteria for designation as a special management prisoner, the conditions of confinement in special
management units, or the process for releasing the inmate back to the general prison
population. Data on active and pending consent decrees involving special management inmates are presented in exhibit 14. Exhibit 15 lists the decrees by type of population governed and state. The majority of consent decrees in place concerns
mentally ill or medical populations.

The use of special
management units
has given rise to a significant amount of litigation. Most consent
decrees in place concern mentally ill or
medical populations.

41

Chapter 4

Exhibit 14. Number and Percentage of States Reporting Consent Decrees
Active Decrees

Population

Pending Decrees

Number of States With Decrees Number of
States
States
Responding Number Percent Responding

States With Decrees
Number

Percent

Administrative
segregation

38

4

11

20

0

0

Disciplinary
segregation

39

6

15

22

1

5

Mental health

41

11

27

20

0

0

Medical

40

10

25

22

0

0

Substance
abuse

38

1

3

22

0

0

Other*

34

10

29

19

6

32

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.
*Several

states have more than one consent decree in this category.

Screening and Assessment
Although inmate assessment and classification practices vary across states, most
agencies screen for the same basic inmate characteristics, including membership in
a gang or security threat group, escape risk, violent behavior, and suicide risk.
Exhibit 16 shows the different factors assessed and the number and percentage of
responding states that screen for each factor; the information is presented for both
genders, although most states screen male and female inmates for the same factors.
All states responding reported that all prisoners are screened for suicide risk, mood
disorders, and psychotic disorders. Nearly all of the responding states (95 percent)
screen for mental retardation and escape risk. Mental health staff perform the psychological evaluations and base their conclusions on the results of interviews,
psychological assessment and testing, and professional clinical judgment. Inmates
found to have psychological disorders or mental deficits are eligible for special services and counseling provided by the mental health staff. Innovative methods
are being used to deliver such services. Iowa, for example, has implemented
“telemedicine”—consultation via two-way television—for inmate counseling and
psychiatric services.

42

Findings of the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates

Exhibit 15. Active and Pending Consent Decrees by Special Management
Population and State, 2002
Administrative Segregation
California
Armstrong v. Davis
Coleman v. Davis
Madrid v. Wilson
Florida
Osterback v. Moore
Iowa
Goff v. Harper
Michigan
Hadix v. Johnson
Mental Health/Mental Retardation
Arizona
Casey v. Lewis
California
Coleman v. Davis
Clark v. Davis
Madrid v. Wilson
Georgia
Cason v. Seckinger
Indiana
Anderson v. O’Bannon

Substance Abuse
Michigan
Hadix v. Johnson
Disciplinary Segregation
Arizona
Taylor v. Lewis
Indiana
Taifa v. O’Bannon
Iowa
Goff v. Harper
Michigan
Hadix v. Johnson
New Hampshire
Laaman
New York
Anderson v. Coughlin
Eng v. Smith
Rivera v. Coughlin
Salik v. Farrell
West Virginia
Berry v. Painter

Michigan
Hadix v. Johnson

Medical
California
Armstrong v. Davis
Madrid v. Wilson
Plata v. Davis

New Hampshire
Laaman

Connecticut
Doe v. Meachum

New Jersey
C.F. v. Terhune

Georgia
Cason v. Seckinger

New York
Harrell v. Senkowski
Langley v. Coughlin

Indiana
Cox & Carr v. O’Bannon
Wellman et al. v. Faulkner et al.
Taifa v. O’Bannon

Iowa
Goff v. Harper

Oklahoma
Battles v. Saffle
Washington
Hallet v. Payne

Michigan
Hadix v. Johnson
Minnesota
Hines v. Anderson
Exhibit 15 continues on next page.

43

Chapter 4

Exhibit 15 continued

Only 22 states reported the number
of inmates they had
identified as gang or
STG members, which
ranged from as much
as 20–40 percent of the
prison population in
some states to less than
5 percent in others.

Medical, continued
New Jersey
Rouse v. Plantier
Row v. Fauver
New York
Milburn v. Coughlin
Todaro v. Coughlin
Clarkson v. Coughlin
Oklahoma
Battles v. Saffle
Washington
Hallet v. Payne
Other
Arizona
Does v. Stewart (protective segregation)
Harris v. Caldwell (conditions of
confinement)
Gluth v. Kangus (legal access)
Hook v. State (inmate mail)
California
Armstrong v. Davis (Security Housing
Unit)
Coleman v. Davis (Security Housing
Unit)
Madrid v. Wilson (Security Housing
Unit)

Idaho
McKinney v. State (capital punishment)
New Jersey
Lugo v. Middlesex (hearing impaired)
New York
Pease v. Coughlin (conditions of
protective custody)
Dumont v. Coughlin (media review
process)
Hughes v. Goord (Native American
religious practices)
Hamilton v. Goord (cross-gender
patdowns)
Griffin v. Goord (conditions of
protective custody)
Forts v. Ward (male correctional officers at a female facility)
Ohio
Austin v. Wilkinson et al.
Washington
Duffy v. Riveland (hearing impaired
services)
Humanists v. Department of
Corrections/Lehman (inmate mail,
legal access)

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.

Most of the responding states screen their prisoners for STG membership. This
screening is typically performed by classification or diagnostic staff, but several
states, such as Arizona, California, Indiana, and Texas, employ officers or investigators specifically for this purpose. Although assessors typically use a gang
validation checklist, they still rely on gang tattoos, interviews, and criminal history
to make final determinations.
Only 22 states that responded to the STG survey question reported the number of
inmates they had identified as gang or STG members. As exhibit 17 shows,
gang/STG affiliation varied widely in these 22 prison systems, from as much
as 20–40 percent of the prison population in some states to less than 5 percent in
others. Some of this variation may be the result of differences in classification methods or definitions of gang/STG membership used by the responding states.

44

Findings of the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates

Exhibit 16. Screening for Various Factors at Initial Assessment
Male Inmates
Number of
States
Responding

Number

Security threat
group membership

42

Escape risk

Female Inmates

Percent

Number of
States
Responding

Number

Percent

37

88

40

34

85

42

40

95

41

39

95

Witness protection

42

36

86

41

34

83

Sexual assault
protection

42

35

83

41

34

83

Potential violence
in prison

42

34

81

41

33

81

Enemies

42

37

88

41

36

88

Predatory sexual
behavior

42

35

83

41

34

83

Suicide risk

40

40

100

39

39

100

Mood disorders

40

40

100

40

40

100

Psychotic disorders

40

40

100

39

39

100

Personality disorder

38

32

84

37

31

84

Mental retardation

38

36

95

37

35

95

Factor
Assessed

States That Screen

States That Screen

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.

45

Chapter 4

Exhibit 17. Inmate Population Classified as Gang or Security Threat Group
Members
Number of Inmates
State
Arizona

Total
Population

Gang/STG
Members

Percentage of Total
Prison Population

27,165

3,792

14

157,142

1,300

1

Connecticut

18,348

485

3

Florida

72,509

2,457

3

Kansas

8,574

565

7

Kentucky

15,805

387

3

Maryland

23,717

1,223

5

Massachusetts

10,197

1,951

19

Michigan

47,357

50

1

Minnesota

6,626

1,953

30

New Jersey

22,657

5,700

25

New Mexico

5,781

2,100

36

North Dakota

1,131

82

7

Oregon

11,023

1,100

10

Pennsylvania

37,995

1,300

3

Rhode Island

3,295

390

12

South Carolina

21,684

774

4

South Dakota

2,864

277

10

143,302

6,175

4

14,871

1,647

11

25

3

9,045

43

California

Texas
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin

992*
21,106

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.
STG=security threat group.
*Male

46

inmates only. West Virginia did not report data on female inmates.

five

Chapter

Identification and Review of Model
Programs
Identifying best practices for classifying and managing high-risk and special management prison populations was a major objective of this NIC project. Therefore,
the final section of the National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates
asked the states to provide information on two types of model or innovative
programs:
Intervention programs designed to better identify, manage, and treat inmates
who have been removed from the general population.

No state reported
model programs or
policies directed at
high-risk prisoners
housed in the general

Programs developed to reduce or avoid the need to remove high-risk inmates
from the general population.
Only a small number of states responded, and most of the programs they described
targeted inmates who had already been placed in administrative segregation. No
state reported programs or policies directed at high-risk prisoners housed in the general population whose actions had not yet led to their removal to a special management population. None of the programs described had been formally evaluated to
determine its effectiveness in reducing violence either among these prisoners or
within the prison system at large.

population whose
actions had not yet
led to their removal
to a special management population.

A few states reported what they believe are model programs for addressing the
gang/STG problem:
Connecticut’s Gang Awareness Program is a mandatory 8-week program for
inmates affiliated with a gang or other dangerous group. It is designed to help
high-risk inmates reevaluate their current situations, the choices they have
made, and the life they were leading prior to incarceration. Completion of the
program is required before the inmate is released from the Close Monitoring
Unit. A similar program for female STG members focuses on addictive behaviors, unhealthy involvements, and decisionmaking skills while teaching the
women the elements of a positive lifestyle.8
California’s Sensitive Needs Yard (SNY) Program separates general population
inmates from predatory or gang-affiliated inmates. The program allows nonviolent inmates who would otherwise be segregated in protective custody units the
same opportunities available to the general population but without the threat of
violence. Inmates are carefully selected for participation in SNY, and those with
47

Chapter 5

predatory, violent, disruptive, or unresolved gang behavior are generally excluded. Approximately 5 percent of the male general population were participating
in SNY at the time of the survey.
Pennsylvania’s Long-Term Segregation Unit (LTSU) isolates combative, disruptive, and violent inmates who have continually posed a threat to security and
shown an unwillingness to comply with the rules governing the general population. Although privileges are limited in the LTSU, the unit provides inmates
with in-cell classes on drug and alcohol abuse, stress management, and academic subjects. Inmates are also permitted daily visits with the chaplain, twiceweekly visits with a correctional counselor, and psychological services as
requested. The LTSU houses only a small portion of the prison population and
is implemented only for male prisoners.
The project team also sought recommendations of potential model programs from
the project Advisory Board, the Managing Disruptive Inmates Committee of the
Association of State Correctional Administrators, and NIC staff. This information,
combined with the experiences and observations of the project team—including
informal contacts with prison administrators who have implemented new approaches—
resulted in the identification of the model programs summarized in exhibit 18.
The project team made site visits to facilities of three jurisdictions that demonstrated well-structured, highly effective or promising programs: Connecticut and Ohio,
which have programs that focus on the disruptive prisoner who has been removed
from the general population, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which operates an
innovative program for female prisoners who have been traumatized by physical and
sexual abuse prior to being incarcerated. These programs are described in the sections that follow.
Exhibit 18. Potential Model Programs for Managing Disruptive and High-Risk Prisoners
State and Program
Alaska
Youth Offender Program

Description
Targets high-risk offenders ages 15–20 who are involved in street and
gang cultures. Provides classes in cognitive skills, academic subjects,
substance abuse, vocational skills, mental health, and anger management.

California

48

Sensitive Needs Yard
Program

Provides general population (GP) inmates who have concerns about
safety or enemies an environment free of predatory or gang-affiliated
inmates. Allows nonviolent inmates who would otherwise require segregated placement full access to programs in a GP setting.

Violence Control Program

Will provide an alternative to segregated housing for disruptive inmates
and include self-help, educational, gang, and drug awareness programs.
Designed to provide progressive steps based on inmates’ participation in
programs and positive performance.

Identification and Review of Model Programs

Exhibit 18 continued
State and Program
Colorado
Progressive Reintegration
and Orientation Unit
Connecticut
Close Custody Gang
Management Program,
Close Custody Chronic
Disciplinary Program, and
Administrative Segregation
Transition Phase Program
Florida
Enhanced Close
Management Program
Indiana
Residential Treatment Unit

Iowa
Reintegration Program

New Jersey
Security Threat Group
Management Unit
New Mexico
Cognitive Re-Structuring
Program
Oklahoma
Mental Health Services
Needs Classification

Oregon
Close Custody Unit

Description
Targets inmates placed in administrative segregation and provides cognitive programs; academics; vocational, recreational, and work assignments; and mental health services.
Programs for gang management, chronic disciplinary problems, and
administrative segregation operate at multiple facilities throughout the
state, including the Hartford area. Programs target up to 500 male and
25 female inmates.

Targets closed management (CM) inmates housed in administrative segregation. Inmates are eligible for specific levels of programming based on
management level (CM1 = most restrictive; CM3 = least restrictive).
Serves 40 male inmates with mental health issues. Inpatient residential
treatment program provides individualized treatment plans, transitioning
programming, and rehabilitation therapy. Program uses a needs assessment process and a mental health diagnostic screening interview.
Targets inmates housed in administrative segregation for an extended
period of time. Provides classes in anger management, criminality, thinking for success, substance abuse treatment, and recreation. Program is
voluntary, with selection based on staff review and recommendations.
Provides psychological treatment, educational programming, and behavior
modification. Serves inmates identified as STG members. (No indication
of whether this is a GP or administrative segregation program.)
Serves inmates in a variety of custody levels, including administrative
segregation, protective custody, STG, high-risk GP, and disciplinary
segregation.
Evaluates and classifies mental health of all inmates according to a fivelevel system ranging from MH–A (GP housing with outpatient treatment)
to MH–D (24-hour monitoring in a ward for inmates with acute mental
health problems).
Serves inmates making transition from the maximum custody intensive
management unit (total lockdown) to an open GP unit.
Exhibit 18 continues on next page.

49

Chapter 5

Exhibit 18 continued
State and Program

Description

Pennsylvania
Long-Term Segregation Unit

Houses extremely disruptive, violent, and problematic inmates. Provides
extremely high levels of security and sharply reduces level of privileges.

Special Management Unit

Securely houses inmates who are continually disruptive, violent, or dangerous or who pose a threat to the orderly operation of the facility. Inmates assigned to this unit have been repeatedly subject to disciplinary
action or investigation.

South Carolina
Stairway Treatment Program

Provides housing and programming for HIV/AIDS inmates, who are
screened and identified at the reception center. Inmates are housed in a
segregated unit but interact with GP inmates when participating in programs and other support functions.

Statewide Protective Custody
Housing Unit

Special management unit housing approved protective custody inmates,
who are monitored by institutional and central office staff while in the
unit. Protective custody placement is validated through a series of interviews and a formal investigation and is reviewed and approved by the
Institutional Classification Committee.

Washington
Assisted Living Facility

Provides assisted living for inmates whose medical condition requires
such assistance.

Special Offender Unit

Houses inmates who have a mental illness or are in acute distress (suicidal). Seeks to stabilize inmates with mental illness and return them to GP
through a diagnostic, treatment, and reintegration program.

Youthful Offender Program

Houses juvenile offenders who have been sentenced as adults.

Twin Rivers Sex Offender
Treatment Program

Treats sex offenders who have been screened with multiple approved
actuarial risk instruments.

West Virginia
Stepdown

Serves inmates who have been housed in the control unit for 6 months
or more and are making the transition back into GP. Inmates progress
through a series of gradual stepdowns in the areas of supervision, security precautions, and privileges.

Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National Institute of Corrections, 2002.
Note: GP, general population; STG, security threat group.

50

Identification and Review of Model Programs

Connecticut Department of Correction
Most jurisdictions manage and house all high-risk inmates through a single administrative segregation structure, irrespective of differences in the nature of the risk
they represent to the institution’s safety or in their security and programming needs.
The Connecticut Department of Correction (CDC) has taken another approach and
developed a model called the Close Custody Phase Program that it has adapted to
the specific needs of different groups of high-risk inmates.
The development of the Close Custody Phase Program was a response to severe
management problems and increased violence caused primarily by the infiltration
and swift expansion of gangs in the CDC system in 1993. After identifying the gang
leaders and removing them from the general population, the CDC created a new
quasi-segregation status called close custody to manage this population at the Garner Correctional Institution in 1994. Inmates sent to close custody were to be held
there for as long as they remained affiliated with an STG.
At the direction of the CDC commissioner, an internal task force came together at
Garner to consider how STG members in close custody might make the transition
back into the general population. This task force, which included staff from the custody, counseling, mental health, and educational departments, developed the structure and programming for the Close Custody Phase Program. The program’s
objective was to lead STG members to renounce their gang affiliation, based on the
belief that gangs and their associated problems could be managed and controlled
through a high level of structure, regimentation, and focused programming.
CDC has used the Close Custody Phase Program model in other programs designed
to safely manage high-risk and difficult-to-manage inmates, such as those who
repeatedly commit disciplinary infractions and those who require administrative
segregation. The department’s three Close Custody Phase Programs for high-risk
inmates are the Close Custody Gang Management Program (the original Close Custody Phase Program), the Close Custody Chronic Disciplinary Program, and the
Administrative Segregation Transition Phase Program. The structure and program
requirements of each unit are based on examination of outcome data and consideration of each group’s needs and characteristics and are intended to facilitate the
inmates’ return to the general population, if appropriate. The process includes regular and frequent reviews by the classification staff and structured movement of the
inmate through the levels, or phases, of the program until release.

The Close Custody
Phase Program is
based on the belief
that gangs and their
associated problems
could be managed
and controlled
through a high level
of structure, regimentation, and focused
programming.

To learn more about these programs and their outcomes, the project team visited the
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution and the Northern Correctional Institution. These site visits included presentations on the purpose and objectives of the
program by department staff, a tour of the restricted housing units, and interviews
with administrative and line staff. The project team’s observations are summarized
in the following sections.

51

Chapter 5

Close Custody Gang Management Program

Inmates who progress
to phase II are
grouped in squads
composed of different STGs. They com-

The gang management program was developed by an internal task force at the Garner Correctional Institution in 1994 and has been expanded and replicated at multiple locations within the CDC, including the Northern Correctional Institution,
where the project team observed it. CDC administrative directive 9.4 describes the
program as a level 4 restrictive housing status that segregates inmates designated as
STG members whose behavior poses a threat to the security and orderly operation
of the facility or a risk to the safety of staff or other inmates.
The program is divided into phases, with each phase having specified security and
program privileges and restrictions. Phase I, the entry level status, is the most
restrictive. Inmates are housed with members of the same gang or nonrival gangs
and are on lockdown 23 hours per day. In addition to 1 hour of out-of-cell activity
per day, they are permitted three showers, three monitored phone calls, and two noncontact visits per week. In general, the operation of phase I parallels that of most
administrative segregation units.

plete all activities
together within the
squad, including
meals, recreation,
and programs.

The strict security, supervision, and management of phase I allow staff to observe
and evaluate the inmate for possible movement to phase II. Inmates in phase I are
reviewed continuously and monitored for compliance with the program’s rules and
regulations. To move to phase II, an inmate must complete a minimum of 120 days
in phase I. He must also sign a “Letter of Intent” stating his desire to renounce his
gang membership and an “acknowledgment of expectations” stating that he accepts
and understands the rules, regulations, and expectations of the Close Custody Gang
Management Program.
Inmates who progress to phase II are grouped in squads composed of different
STGs. They complete all activities together within the squad, including meals,
recreation, and programs. The squad concept is intended to enhance trust among the
members of different gangs and also requires them to work together and cooperate
in completing assigned tasks.
Inmates must remain in phase II for a minimum of 60 days and are expected to complete all required programs before they will be considered for promotion to phase
III. Programs required during this phase include gang awareness, anger management, conflict resolution, and programs designed to structure and encourage living
in a nonviolent manner.
Phase III is a transitional phase in which inmates are given work and program
assignments both inside and outside the restricted housing unit. The programming
emphasis continues and includes expanded cognitive restructuring programs, education, social skills training, and conflict resolution. Inmates who complete all the
required programs and maintain an acceptable level of behavior are considered for
review and reclassification to level 4 general population status.

52

Identification and Review of Model Programs

During any phase of the program, an inmate who fails to participate in the required
programming or violates the rules and regulations of the unit may be returned to
phase I or reclassified to administrative segregation. Inmates who complete the program and are returned to the general population are monitored for possible reinvolvement in gangs.

Close Custody Chronic Disciplinary Program
This restricted status housing program is designed to reduce the threat to the safety
and security of the institution posed by inmates who commit serious and/or frequent
disciplinary violations. Assignment to the unit is based on the seriousness and repetitiveness of the disruptive behavior and is reviewed and approved by the director of
offender classification. Most of the inmates placed in the program have completed
punitive segregation sanctions and otherwise could be sent either to administrative
segregation or returned to the general population. Inmates may also be placed in the
first level of the program as a punitive segregation sanction.
The Close Custody Chronic Disciplinary Program operates on the assumption that
inmates who repeatedly violate institutional rules need a structured environment and
structured programming to alter their behavior so that they can return to the general population. The program consists of two intervals, and each inmate is initially
assigned to interval I. After meeting all established requirements, completing all
required programming, and maintaining an acceptable level of behavior, the inmate
is reviewed by the Unit Classification Review Committee for possible advancement
to interval II. On completion of interval II, the inmate can be approved for return to
the general population by the director of offender classification. The program policy manual indicates that those who fail to complete the program within 6 months
will be removed from the unit and recommended for administrative segregation.
Interval I. This stage of the program is designed to isolate and confine the inmate
who has committed multiple and repetitive disciplinary violations within the institutional setting. Inmates assigned to the chronic disciplinary program are initially
moved in full restraints and are escorted by staff at all times when outside of the cell.
After 1 week in the unit, the level of restraints can be modified, and removing all
restraints becomes an option after an additional week. Inmates must complete a
minimum of 30 days in interval I before they can be considered for promotion to
interval II.
The privileges and programming in interval I are similar to those found in a typical
administrative segregation setting. All inmates receive their meals in their cells. Outof-cell time for recreational privileges is restricted to 1 hour per day, 5 days per
week, and only two 30-minute noncontact visits per week are allowed. Phone calls
are also limited, as is access to personal property. Work assignments are not permitted, and inmates have no access to televisions or radios.

The Close Custody
Chronic Disciplinary
Program operates on
the assumption that
inmates who repeatedly violate institutional rules need a
structured environment and structured
programming to alter
their behavior so that
they can return to the
general population.

53

Chapter 5

Interval II. Fewer security restrictions are imposed on inmates promoted to interval II. For example, no restraints are used and inmates move in groups as large as
48 within the unit. They may be given work assignments within the unit and are paid
in accordance with the established pay plan.

The Connecticut
Department of
Correction’s adminis-

In interval II, inmates are required to participate in the curriculum developed for the
unit, which includes orientation and communication, anger management, relapse
prevention, problem solving/resolution, and transition planning. The curriculum is
designed to address the causes of chronic disciplinary problems and to prepare the
inmate for successful transition back to the general population.

trative segregation

Administrative Segregation Transition Phase Program

program is unique in

Administrative segregation is designed for inmates who can no longer be managed
safely in the general population because their behavior or management factors pose
a threat to the security of the institution or to the safety of staff or other inmates. Virtually every correctional system has some form of administrative segregation. The
CDC’s administrative segregation program is unique in that it incorporates restricted housing phases intended to facilitate the inmate’s return to the general population.

that it incorporates
restricted housing
phases intended to
facilitate the inmate’s
return to the general
population.

The CDC developed its two-level administrative segregation structure in response to
a review of outcome data showing security deficiencies and programmatic shortcomings in the existing strategy. Administrative directive 9.4 sets forth the policy
and procedures that govern each level. The first level is a traditional administrative
segregation status similar to that found in most jurisdictions. The second level is the
department’s innovative Administrative Segregation Transition Phase Program, a
specialized housing status program designed to prepare an inmate for placement
back in the general population.
The structure of the Administrative Segregation Transition Phase Program is similar to that of the Close Custody Gang Management Program. The transition program
has three distinct phases designed to prepare the inmate for return to the general
population and ensure that the transition does not jeopardize the safety and security of the institution. The program operates on the assumption that inmates who pose
a risk to the public, staff, or other inmates must be housed in a highly secure and
structured environment. The CDC believes that while inmates are housed in such a
restrictive environment, they should receive training in the coping skills necessary
to function successfully and safely in the general population. A major objective of
the program is to reduce the return rate of those leaving administrative segregation.
The operational procedures and programs of each phase are designed to achieve
these objectives.
Phase I. The operating procedures associated with phase I are similar to those found
in the typical administrative segregation unit. The objective of this phase is to incapacitate through controlled movement and intensive staff supervision. The security
standards of phase I include use of restraints; controlled and escorted movement;
limitations on showers, recreation, and visits; and limitations on property. All meals

54

Identification and Review of Model Programs

are served in the cell. Programs, including religious and counseling services, are
offered through in-cell programming only. Promotion to phase II is considered only
after a lengthy period of being discipline free and acknowledging and accepting the
requirements that accompany phase II. The normal minimum period of time an
inmate must remain in phase I is 6 months.
Throughout phase I and subsequent phases, the classification staff closely monitor
the inmate’s behavior and progress. A classification review is conducted every 7
days for the first 2 months and every 30 days thereafter.
Phase II. The operating standards, privileges, and access to programs in phase II are
designed to maintain the safety and security of the institution while initiating the
process of transition from administrative segregation back to the general population.
After 30 days in phase II, restraints are no longer required for routine movement out
of the cell, movement within groups is increased, and group participation in programs, recreation, and other out-of-cell activities is initiated. The program requirements for phase II include anger management and communication skills. Inmates
remain in phase II a minimum of 90 days. To be considered for promotion to phase
III, an inmate must participate in and complete all program requirements while
maintaining an acceptable disciplinary record.
Phase III. In the final phase of the program, the unit’s environment and security
standards are further normalized to prepare the inmate for return to the general population. Group activities are broadened to include a wider range of programs and
more group movement. Inmates in phase III benefit from meals served in a group
setting in the dayroom, expanded passive recreational programs, and increased general privileges.
The phase III curriculum includes relapse prevention, problem identification and
resolution, and improvement of interactive skills. The final transition program is the
Bridge Group, which is designed to ensure that inmates can communicate with others effectively and appropriately, deal with frustration, and see and understand others’ perspectives. The Bridge Group stresses staff involvement, including staff who
may have been assaulted by the inmate in the past.

CDC data show
that violence has
decreased significantly
in both general population and high-risk
units in department
facilities since it
began implementing

Inmates who complete all activities and programs required during phase III are
reviewed by the unit classification committee, the facility classification committee,
the warden, and the deputy commissioner of programs and treatment, who is the
final approving authority.

programs targeted to
specific groups of
high-risk inmates.

Program Effectiveness
The CDC’s unique approach to managing its high-risk population has increased
staff and inmate safety. CDC data show that violence has decreased significantly in
both general population and high-risk units in department facilities since it began
implementing programs targeted to specific groups of high-risk inmates. Serious
assaults have decreased from 233 in 1993, the year before the Close Custody Gang
55

Chapter 5

Management Program was launched, to 129 in 2001. Since 1994, 550 inmates have
completed one of the CDC’s three programs for high-risk inmates and reentered the
general prison population. As of May 31, 2002, the annual return rate to administrative segregation was only 2.6 percent.

All high maximumcustody inmates are

The CDC’s approach is being replicated to some degree in other systems. The project team reviewed units within the Colorado Department of Corrections and New
Mexico Department of Corrections that were similar, although not identical, in their
structure and programmatic objectives to CDC programs.

housed at the Ohio
State Penitentiary,

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

which is regarded

In response to a major prison riot that occurred in the 1990s and the ensuing litigation, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) decided to construct and operate a super maximum-security facility to house its most difficult to
manage prisoners. After this facility, the Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP), opened in
the late 1990s, a lawsuit was filed contesting various aspects of its operations, with
particular focus on how prisoners are selected for admission and how they are able
to gain release. These issues, along with the conditions of confinement, are common
issues raised in litigation against high-security facilities like the OSP. This section
describes the OSP and its operations as of 2001.9

as the department’s
most secure facility,
designed to hold
the most dangerous
inmates.

The DRC has a total population of approximately 45,000 inmates assigned to 34
facilities. As in some other large-population states, Ohio’s prison population has
been declining over the past few years and is not projected to grow in the near
future. The state has a well-structured, well-validated inmate classification system
that assigns inmates to five basic security levels: minimum, medium, close, maximum, and high maximum. Approximately 33 percent of the inmates are in minimum
custody, 40 percent in medium custody, 21 percent in close custody, 5 percent in
maximum custody, and less than 1 percent in high maximum custody. Inmates in
each security level may be assigned to a special management or segregation designation, and about 6 percent of the entire inmate population is so designated. Compared with other states, this is a relatively low percentage, the national average being
approximately 8–10 percent.
Approximately 2,200 inmates have been temporarily placed in a restricted unit due
to disciplinary actions taken by the local facility. These include designations of
administrative, security, disciplinary, and local control. Inmates sent to a security,
disciplinary, or local control unit are returned to the general population within a relatively short period of time. Those whom the DRC believes should be removed and
segregated on an indefinite basis are assigned to protective custody, administrative
control, or high maximum custody. Only 182 inmates are in protective custody, 280
in administrative control, and 365 in high maximum. All high maximum-custody
inmates are housed at the OSP, which is regarded as the department’s most secure
facility, designed to hold the most dangerous inmates.
56

Identification and Review of Model Programs

Overview of the Ohio State Penitentiary
The OSP was opened in 1998 to house high-security inmates who the DRC determined could not be housed or managed within the general population. It has a bed
capacity of 504 single cells. These beds are distributed in 4 separate housing units,
each of which has 8 pods with 15–16 cells per pod. As of 2001, the population at
the OSP had declined to the extent that one housing unit had been closed temporarily. Estimates based on admission and release data and daily population figures put
the average length of stay in the OSP at 3.5 to 6 years (exhibit 19). If the number of
admissions and the daily population remain constant, the average length of stay will
be 6 years. Conversely, based on the larger number of releases, the average length
of stay will be 3.5 years. OSP officials indicate that the expected length of stay is
closer to 2–3 years, so inmates may move through the OSP more quickly than these
numbers suggest. If this is true, then admissions will have to increase for the population to remain at its current level.

Estimates based on
admission and release
data and daily population figures put the
average length of stay
in the OSP at 3.5 to
6 years.

Exhibit 19. Average Length of Stay at the Ohio State Penitentiary
Inmate population as of September 2001

365

Change in population July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2001
Inmates admitted

61

Inmates released

103

Average length of stay (years)
Based on admissions

6.0

Based on releases

3.5

Source: Ohio State Penitentiary, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, September 26, 2001.

Assignment to the OSP. The process of assigning an inmate to the OSP has several steps. First, staff at the inmate’s facility refer the inmate’s case for consideration
to a three-person committee within the facility. This committee makes a recommendation to the warden or the warden’s designee, who has the option of rejecting
the recommendation or forwarding it to the Bureau of Classification (BOC). If the
warden forwards the recommendation and the BOC agrees, the inmate is transferred
to the OSP. If the BOC disagrees, the warden can appeal the BOC’s decision to the
regional DRC director, who can concur with or override the BOC’s decision.
At the time of this report, the DRC had drafted a new classification policy that
would improve the current classification process for high maximum-security
inmates. The new policy would establish a five-level classification system for all
DRC inmates. Levels 1, 2, and 3 would mirror the general population levels of minimum, medium, and close. Maximum and high maximum would be replaced by levels 4 and 5, each of which would have two privilege levels, A and B. Inmates would
be assigned to level 4A, 4B, 5A, or 5B. The new policy would not allow the warden
to appeal the BOC’s decision to the regional director. The policy also would allow
57

Chapter 5

inmates to be considered for level 4 or 5 placement either at reception or at any other
DRC facility.
Each inmate’s file contains narrative data and forms completed by DRC staff that
justify the designation of high maximum security. These reasons can be grouped
into the following categories:
Assault of a staff member.
Assault of another inmate.
Possession of or conspiracy to smuggle drugs.
Attempted escape from a secure facility.
Designation as an STG leader.

A treatment plan
established for each
inmate outlines the
types of programs the
inmate is expected to
participate in and the
areas of conduct in
which the inmate is
expected to improve.

Levels of confinement. The OSP has four levels of confinement with differing
degrees of privileges. On arrival at the OSP, inmates undergo orientation and are
placed in level 2 status, where they remain for 12 months or until their behavior warrants a change in privilege status. Inmates who engage in serious misconduct can be
assigned to level 1 status; otherwise, inmates can move from level 2 to level 3 within a year. They are likely to remain in level 3 another year before being transferred
to the least restrictive status, level 4. Inmates assigned to level 4 have been approved
for release from the OSP by the DRC and are awaiting transfer out of the OSP.
Although staff report that inmates can be released from the OSP within a year, this
policy suggests a minimum stay of 2–3 years for inmates who are recommended for
release. However, as suggested above, a growing number of inmates will spend a
considerably longer period at the OSP.
A treatment plan established for each inmate outlines the types of programs the
inmate is expected to participate in and the areas of conduct in which the inmate is
expected to improve. This treatment plan is reviewed and updated as part of the
inmate’s reassessment at 6-month intervals. Movement from one privilege level to
another appears to be under the control of the unit management team, which consists of a unit manager, case manager, and mental health and security staff.10 Other
than being demoted directly to level 1 at any time for a serious misconduct, inmates
are not permitted to jump two levels at a time.
A change in privilege level does not necessarily mean an inmate will be moved to
another pod or block. Each pod and block at the OSP has the capacity to provide
meals and recreation, and all inmates are housed in secure cells. Therefore, inmates
can remain in place as their status changes. However, all level 4 inmates who are
scheduled to be released from the OSP are housed in the same unit until the transfers are completed.

58

Identification and Review of Model Programs

Exhibit 20 shows the distribution of the OSP population by level and housing unit.
Nearly 60 percent of OSP inmates were in level 3 and another 4 percent were in
level 4 status. Conversely, only 13 inmates—3 percent—were in level 1, the most
restricted status, suggesting that most of the OSP population was conforming to the
facility’s rules and regulations.
Exhibit 20. Ohio State Penitentiary Population, by Classification Level and
Housing Unit, September 2001
Number of Inmates in Each
Housing Unit

Total Inmates
Classification Level

Number

Percent

A

B

C

D

Assessment

4

1

0

3

0

1

Orientation

5

1

5

0

0

0

Level 1

13

3

3

3

2

5

Level 2

116

31

25

45

1

45

Level 3

223

59

67

82

2

72

Level 4

16

4

16

0

0

0

377

100

116

133

5

123

Total

Source: Ohio State Penitentiary, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, September 2001.

Release from the OSP. Inmates are reviewed annually to assess their classification
level and determine whether they can be released from the OSP. The process is
relatively similar to the admission process. The three-person OSP classification committee initiates the review and forwards its recommendation to the warden. The warden’s recommendation is then forwarded to the BOC for its review and decision.
Finally, the regional director conducts an assessment and makes a final determination.
Part of the review process entails completion of the DRC’s security scoring instrument, which was designed to be used for inmates who are in the general population,
not for those assigned to high maximum custody. OSP inmates’ scores on this
instrument can show dramatic fluctuations because serious misconducts are no
longer counted after 12 months, which might result in a recommendation to
decrease an inmate’s security level. The instrument also deducts points if the inmate
has not been removed from a job assignment; however, there are no jobs at the OSP,
except for a few porter positions for level 4 inmates.
Exhibit 21 summarizes the results of this multistage decision process. Of 369
inmates reviewed for release during a 12-month period, 71 were approved for
release by the regional director. At each decision point in the review process, the
number of inmates being recommended for release declined. Whereas the OSP classification committee recommended 157 (43 percent) of the inmates under review for
59

Chapter 5

Exhibit 21. Ohio State Penitentiary Release Recommendations
Inmates Recommended for Release
Number
(N = 369)

Percent

157

43

Warden

88

24

Bureau of Classification

90

24

Regional director

71

19

Review Stage
Classification committee

Source: Ohio State Penitentiary, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, September 2001.

The rate of serious

release, the warden reduced that number by nearly half. There was little change at
the BOC level, but the regional director’s final decision reduced the approval rate to
19 percent.

misconduct among
OSP inmates is
impressively low. A
review of randomly
selected cases found
that most inmates
had few, if any, disciplinary reports since
arriving at the OSP.

Effectiveness of the Ohio State Penitentiary System
The DRC’s classification process limits the potential for inmates to be inappropriately classified as “high maximum” security and admitted to the OSP. The number
of inmates designated as “high maximum security” is relatively small and appears
to be declining. Review of a sample of cases found that the inmates’ misconduct at
other facilities warranted their separation from the general population and placement in a special management or segregated setting.
The rate of serious misconduct among OSP inmates is impressively low, undoubtedly because of the security precautions in effect at the facility. As shown in exhibit 20, the majority of OSP inmates were in levels 2 and 3—those with the fewest
restrictions—and only 3 percent were in level 1, the most restricted status, suggesting that most of the OSP population was conforming to the facility’s rules and regulations. Other data support this conclusion:
A review of randomly selected cases found that most inmates had few, if any,
disciplinary reports since arriving at the OSP, and many of these were for nonviolent behavior.
OSP inmates had a lower rate of Class II violations (these are the more serious
offenses an inmate can be reported and disciplined for) than inmates at the nearby OSP Corrections Camp (OSPCC). OSPCC is a facility for low-custody
general population inmates, many of whom work at the OSP in trusty type positions. Additionally, as shown in exhibit 22, the OSP rate of Class II reports
resulting in a referral to the rules infraction board was only slightly higher than
the OSPCC rate.

60

The absence of behaviors such as banging on cell doors, destroying cell property,
flooding cells, or threatening staff is noticeable at the OSP, which suggests that
placement in that facility stabilizes or suppresses the inmates’ institutional conduct.

Identification and Review of Model Programs

Exhibit 22. Ohio State Penitentiary Class II Disciplinary Incidents, May 2000
to August 2001

Class II Reports

Class II Reports Referred
to Rules Infraction Board

Number

Rate per 100
Inmates

Number

Rate per 100
Inmates

Ohio State Penitentiary
(N=375)*

967

258

247

66

Ohio State Penitentiary
Corrections Camp
(N=160)*

544

340

88

55

Facility

Source: Ohio State Penitentiary, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, September 2001.
*N

= average inmate population.

At the same time, OSP houses inmates who, by virtue of the severity of the offenses they committed while incarcerated at another facility (e.g., assaulting a corrections officer, attempting to murder another inmate, participating in a riot, or leading
an STG), will be held longer in high maximum custody, regardless of improvements
in their behavior. The DRC is working on a separate management strategy for a fifth
level of confinement at the OSP—inmates who pose no management problems but
cannot be transferred to another facility for many years due to the severity of their
past misconduct.

Federal Bureau of Prisons
A recent study by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) found that 60 percent of its
women prisoners have been the victim of either sexual or physical abuse, almost
exclusively committed by men. A significant portion of the abuse was inflicted during the women’s childhood, often by family or extended family members. These
findings are similar to statistics reported by state correctional systems. Often, the
abuse predates the prisoner’s involvement in criminal activities. In other situations,
the abuse is linked to criminal behavior.
BOP’s New Pathways program has been in existence since 2001 and is still considered a pilot effort. This program is included in this report because the incidence of
lengthy histories of physical and sexual abuse among women prisoners is so pronounced and the response to the problem has been so weak.
New Pathways is offered at the Dublin Correctional Facility (DCF) in Dublin, California. DCF is the major women’s facility for the BOP’s western region, with
approximately 1,000 prisoners. Attached to the complex are a male detention facility and a minimum-security camp for women. Most of the women incarcerated in
DCF have been convicted of drug-related offenses.

A recent study by the
Federal Bureau of
Prisons found that 60
percent of its women
prisoners have been
the victim of either
sexual or physical
abuse, almost exclusively committed
by men.

61

Chapter 5

In the treatment of trauma associated with sexual and physical abuse, professional
mental health experts argue that there are two major stages of treatment. The first
phase is designed to initiate discussions about sexual and physical abuse without
going into specific details about the abuse experienced by the victim. The objective
is to begin discussing the forms abuse may take and the effect it can have on mental health status. Sometime thereafter, it may be possible and desirable to initiate a
second phase of treatment where the therapist and client address specific instances
of abuse. Since this level of treatment can often be painful and discomforting for the
client, it must be done in confidential, one-to-one sessions that may be needed for
several years.
The New Pathways program addresses the first phase of treatment. Groups of 10 or
fewer women meet under the guidance of a psychologist to discuss the general topic
of sexual and physical abuse. The program provides opportunities for individual followup sessions with the supervising psychologist if issues raised in the group bring
up painful or disturbing reactions.
New Pathways is not intended to be a vehicle for the treatment of mental health
problems associated with the trauma of prior sexual and physical abuse. The feasibility of delivering such treatment in a prison environment is questionable, given
that professional mental health services for one-to-one treatment are rarely available. However, the program may be helpful in preparing a woman to enter more
intensive treatment on release from prison.

62

six

Chapter

Issues and Recommendations
In the United States, the prevailing approach to managing high-risk and special
management prison populations has been to build larger, more secure, and heavily
staffed administrative segregation and super maximum-security housing units. Prisoners are typically placed in these units only after their destructive behavior has
made it obvious that they should be removed from the general population. Much
less consideration has been given to preventing violent incidents from occurring in
the first place through the use of classification tools, aggressive management techniques, and programming and treatment services designed to modify prisoners’
behavior. Of the states that responded to the National Survey of the Management of
High-Risk Inmates, only a small number answered the question about model programs, and most of the programs they described targeted inmates who had already
been placed in administrative segregation. Neither the survey nor the other efforts
of the project team identified any programs or policies directed at high-risk prisoners housed in the general population whose actions had not yet led to their removal
to a special management population.

Research to develop
better classification
tools and a more
proactive approach to
managing high-risk
and special management prisoners will

Research is needed to develop better classification tools and a more proactive
approach to managing high-risk and special management prisoners. Such research
will be hampered, however, until the states adopt a common terminology for classifying prison populations. The National Survey revealed the lack of consensus
among the states regarding even the most basic classification terms such as “general population,” “protective custody,” and “administrative” versus “disciplinary” segregation. To facilitate meaningful cross-jurisdictional comparisons of the types of
prisoners held in state correctional systems and the effectiveness of methods for
managing prison populations, states should agree, at a minimum, on a common definition of each of the following categories and to the use of these categories to designate all prisoners:

be hampered until
the states adopt a
common terminology
for classifying the
prison population.

General population.
Special management:
❖ Administrative segregation.
❖ Disciplinary segregation.
❖ Protective custody.

63

Chapter 6

❖ Severe mental health care.
❖ Severe medical care.

Research into proactive methods for
preventing prison violence should examine
the effects of environment on prisoner
behavior and assess
the often advocated
but still highly controversial super
maximum-security
facilities.

64

The National Survey also revealed that few states had correctional data systems that
could quickly and accurately aggregate the numbers and types of prisoners in their
custody. States are strongly encouraged to upgrade their correctional data systems
so that they can track and monitor the prisoner population daily according to the five
basic categories listed above. State correctional data systems should also provide
more detailed information about the basis for assigning a prisoner to a category and
about the movement of prisoners from one category to another.
Research into proactive methods for preventing prison violence should include an
examination of the effects of environment on prisoner behavior. It is well known
among corrections professionals that prison architecture influences inmate behavior
and also that similarly situated inmate populations can have very different rates of
serious misconduct. However, these observations are not supported by research.
States and the federal government are strongly advised to initiate studies to determine the impact of architecture and prison management methods on inmate disruptive behavior.
Such studies should include assessments of the often advocated but still highly controversial super maximum-security facilities. More information is needed on how
best to identify inmates who require this level of segregation, how long they should
remain segregated from the general population, what interventions should be used
to control their high-risk behavior, when and how they should be returned to the
general population, and how they behave after release from these units. In the
absence of such basic research, it is difficult to propose new methods for identifying such high-risk prisoners and to apply interventions that will help control and
manage them.

Notes
1. See California Department of Corrections, Data Analysis Unit, Inmate Incidents
in Institutions: Calendar Year 2002, Sacramento: California Department of Corrections, 2003. Available at the California Department of Corrections Web site:
http://www.corr.ca.gov/OffenderInfoServices/Reports/Annual/BEH1/BEH1d2002.
pdf. California is one of the few states that openly report data on prisoners.
2. Personal communication with staff of the New Mexico and California Departments of Corrections.
3. For more discussion of internal management systems, see Internal Prison
Classification Systems: Case Studies in Their Development and Implementation
(Hardyman et al., 2002).
4. Source: National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates, National
Institute of Corrections, 2002.
5. For a more detailed description of the Level of Service Inventory–Revised, see
“Reliability and Validity Study of the LSI–R Risk Assessment Instrument” (Austin
et al., 2003).
6. For more information about the COMPAS or to contact the Northpointe
Institute, visit the company’s Web site at www.northpointeinc.com.
7. The Sex Offender Assessment Board, which is part of the Pennsylvania Board
of Probation and Parole, is also mandated to review all convicted sex offenders
about to be sentenced by the courts.
8. See Connecticut Department of Correction, Program Services, Compendium of
Programs and Services for Offender Population, available at the department’s Web
site: http://www.doc.state.ct.us. Although the Gang Awareness Program is related to
the Close Custody Phase Program discussed later in this chapter, it is a separate program that targets a different group of inmates.
9. Much of the information in this section is drawn from a report prepared by
James Austin for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
10. Security staff assigned to each unit are under the supervision of the unit
manager.

65

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74

Appendix
National Survey of the Management
of High-Risk Inmates

Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners

Introduction
The National Survey of the Management of High-Risk Inmates was part of a project funded by the National Institute of Corrections to better understand the classification of high-risk, aggressive, disruptive, and predatory offenders in the general
population, close-custody management units, maximum custody, or administrative
segregation. This study also directed attention to special topics such as identification and classification of inmates involved in serious incidents who are mentally ill,
risk assessment for younger inmates and sexual predators within prison systems,
and application of community risk assessment instruments for civil commitments.
This survey, which was sent in 2002 to the correctional agencies of all 50 states and
the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, was designed to obtain information on the
procedures used to classify high-risk inmates, particularly those in protective custody or administrative segregation, and inmates with mental illnesses or medical
problems. The last section of the survey asked for information on new or model programs, including the name and location of the program, the target population,
screening processes, programs and services offered, and staffing levels.
It was hoped that this project would result in state and federal prison systems learning more about the practices and procedures in correctional agencies and that the
survey would provide examples of some innovative programs and policies that hold
great promise for other agencies.
Definition of a High-Risk, Predatory, and Special Management Inmate:
For purposes of this survey, a high-risk or disruptive inmate is one who cannot be
housed in the general inmate population and/or is likely to be placed in a special
housing unit. In general, a high-risk inmate will be assigned to one of the following
special management categories: 1) Administrative Segregation, 2) Protective Custody, 3) Mental Health and 4) Medical.
However, this study also asked some questions about high-risk, aggressive, disruptive, and predatory offenders who are in the general population but who may become
management problems due to their high-risk, aggressive, disruptive, and predatory
behavior. The study also asked some questions about these inmates as well.
What follows is the questionnaire that was used for this survey.

77

Appendix

I. Background Information
Name of Agency: ___________________________________________________
Agency Address: ____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
Name and Title of Person Completing this Form: __________________________
__________________________________________________________________
Telephone Number: _________________________________________________
Fax: ______________________________________________________________
E-mail Address: ____________________________________________________
We are also interested in doing a followup interview with someone in your agency
who is responsible and familiar with how the department monitors the general population to identify inmates and situations that may lead to a serious incident if not
attended to. Please provide the name(s) of persons with whom we can have a more
detailed and comprehensive discussion of these issues.
1. _________________________
Name

2. _________________________
Name

3. _________________________
Name

4. _________________________
Name

5. _________________________
Name

78

_____________________

__________

Position

Telephone

_____________________

__________

Position

Telephone

_____________________

__________

Position

Telephone

_____________________

__________

Position

Telephone

_____________________

__________

Position

Telephone

Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners

II. Current Inmate Population Attributes
This first section is designed to provide us with some basic numbers and trends concerning the types of inmates currently assigned to special population units. These
numbers should be based on the most recent data you have available at the time you
receive this survey.
1. Please indicate how many inmates are placed in the following classification
designations. Note that the numbers reported for items 2–6 must equal the
numbers reported in item 1.
Number of Inmates and Beds as of ____/ ____/ ________/
Males
Classification Level

Inmates

Females
Beds

Inmates

Beds

1. Total Inmate Population
2. Total General Population (GP)
2a. Total Maximum or High
Custody in GP
3. Total Special Population not
in GP
3a. Administrative Segregation
3b. Disciplinary Segregation
3c. Protective Custody
3d. Mental Health/Mental
Retardation
3e. Medical/Infirmary
(24-hour segregation)
4. Total Unclassified
5. Other – List
6. Other – List

79

Appendix

2. How many inmates are currently taking psychotropic medications?
Male: ________ Female: ________ Not Sure: ________
3. How many inmates are civil committed?
Male: ________ Female: ________ Not Applicable: ________
4. Please indicate the number of inmates under the age of 18.
Male: ________ Female: ________
5. Please describe your agency’s definition of “maximum- or high-custody”
populations.
5a. Are high-risk inmates segregated from the general population 24 hours
a day?
Yes: ________ No: ________
5b. Do these inmates have contact with other high-security inmates?
Yes: ________ No: ________
5c. Are there restrictions on contact with visitors?
Yes: ________ No: ________
5d. Do inmates wear restraints when moving?
Yes: ________ No: ________
5e. How much out-of-cell time is allocated for high-security
inmates? ________
Please elaborate on the above answers, if necessary, and/or provide additional
information on your agency’s definition of “maximum-custody inmates.”
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
6. Is the same definition applied to mentally ill inmates?
Yes: ________ No: ________ Not Sure: ________
If no, how is administrative segregation different for mentally ill inmates?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
7. Please indicate if, in the past year, your maximum- or high-custody populations have been Increasing, Decreasing, or are Unchanged. For each cell,
be sure to use only the appropriate response of Increasing, Decreasing, or
Unchanged.
80

Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners

Trends in the Number of Inmates in the Past Year, by Classification Level
Classification Level

Males

Females

1. Total Inmate Population
2. Total General Population (GP)
2a. Maximum or High Custody
in GP
3. Total Special Population not in GP
3a. Administrative Segregation
3b. Disciplinary Segregation
3c. Protective Custody
3d. Mental Health/Mental
Retardation
3e. Medical/Infirmary
(24-hour segregation)
4. Total Unclassified
5. Other – List
6. Other – List

8. Has the rate of inmate assaults on staff changed in recent years?
No Change: __ Increased Violence: __ Decreased Violence: __ Not Sure: __
Has the rate of inmate assaults on other inmates changed in recent years?
No Change: __ Increased Violence: __ Decreased Violence: __ Not Sure: __
If yes, to what do you attribute these increases or decreases? ______________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

81

Appendix

9. Are there any active consent decrees that govern, or that pending litigation will
govern, the operations and policies of the following special inmate population
units?

Special Population

Consent
Decree?
(Y/N)

Pending
Settlement?
(Y/N)

Name(s) of Case(s)

Administrative
Segregation
Disciplinary
Segregation
Mental Health/Mental
Retardation
Medical
Substance Abuse
Populations
Other – List

10. Once inmates have been placed in special housing, are they able to return to
the general population?
Yes: ________ No: ________ Not Sure: ________
10a. If yes, under what circumstances may inmates return to the general
population? ________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
10b. If yes, do you provide any type of transitional programming to assist
inmates in moving from special housing to the general population?
Yes: ________ No: ________ Not Sure: ________
If yes, please describe the type of programming and attach any supplementary information/materials. _________________________________
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________

82

Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners

11. Are you satisfied with the way your agency handles disruptive inmates?
Yes: ________ No: ________
11a. If no, what circumstances or policies do you think would help you manage disruptive inmates? _______________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
11b. Are there any administrative barriers (e.g., security rules, administration
concerns, legislation) that affect the ability of your department to provide
special housing units?
Yes: ________ No: ________ Not Sure: ________
Please explain your answer: ____________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
11c. Are you interested in new approaches to dealing with disruptive inmates?
Yes: ________ No: ________
11d. How could NIC assist you?

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Appendix

III. Screening and Assessment Methods
1. Please indicate if inmates are screened upon admission for any of the following attributes associated with special management concerns. Also, please specify whether or not these assessment procedures are the same for both male and
female inmates.

High-Risk
Indicator

Screened
(Y/N)
M
F

Security Issues
Gangs/
Security
Threat
Groups
Escapee
Protection –
Witness
Protection –
Sex Assault
Violence –
In Prison
Violence –
Public
Enemies
Sexual
Predator
Mental Health Issues
Suicidal
Mood
Disorders
Psychotic
Disorders
Other Axis
I (specify)
Other Axis
I (specify)
Personality
Disorders
Mental
Retardation
Other – List

84

By Whom?
(e.g., Nurse,
Doctor,
Classification
Staff,
Psychiatrist…)

Instrument or
Assessment Tool
and Methods
Applied by Staff

Is the
Original
Assessment
Updated?
(Y/N)

How Often? By Whom?

Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners

2. Please identify the number of inmates currently in your custody by risk indicator and specify who has access to this information in your MIS system.
High-Risk
Indicator

Number
of Inmates

Stored in MIS
(Y/N)

Access
Restrictions

Security Issues
Gangs/Security Threat
Groups
Escapee
Protection – Witness
Protection – Sex Assault
Violence – In Prison
Violence – Public
Enemies
Sexual Predator
Mental Health Issues
Suicidal
Mood Disorders
Psychotic Disorders
Other Axis I Diagnoses
Personality Disorders
Mental Retardation
Other – List

85

Appendix

IV. Model Intervention Programs
Some states have developed model or new programs designed to better identify,
manage, and treat inmates who are removed from the general population. Other
departments however, have developed programs that attempt to avoid or reduce the
need for the use of protective custody or segregation. Please indicate below if you
believe your department has such a program(s) and if that program is worthy of further analysis by NIC. If you have more than one program, please complete additional forms.
1. Model Program Name: ____________________________________________
2. Facility Name and Address: ________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
3. Contact Person Name: _________________ Phone Number: ______________
4. Target Population (Check one): ___ Administrative Segregation
___ Disciplinary Segregation
___ Protective Custody (Involuntary)
___ Protective Custody (Voluntary)
___ Mental Health
___ Medical
___ General Population (Possible High-Risk)
___ Other (list)
5. Number of Inmates Currently in the Program:
Males: ____ Females: ____ Under Age 18: ____
6. Admissions Per Year: _____
Releases Per Year: _____
Average Time in Program: _____
7. Describe how inmates are screened and admitted to the program: __________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
8. What Services are provided to the inmates while in the program? __________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

86

Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners

9. What is the Staffing Level (including contractual staff) for the program?
Total Staff: _____ Clerical: _____ Mental Health: _____ Medical: _____
Educational: _____ Case Workers: _____ Security: _____ Other (list): _____
10. How many inmates have successfully completed or graduated from the program in the past year? _____
Please attach organizational chart and official program descriptions as well as
the program’s policies and procedures with the survey if they are available.
11. If you have any additional comments that you believe would be pertinent to
our study, please attach them to this survey. Thank you!

87

User Feedback Form
Please complete and return this form to assist the National Institute of Corrections in assessing the value
and utility of its publications. Detach from the document and mail to:
Publications Feedback
National Institute of Corrections
320 First Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20534
1. What is your general reaction to this document?
______Excellent ______Good ______Average ______Poor ______Useless
2. To what extent do you see the document as being useful in terms of:
Useful

Of some use

Not useful

Providing new or important information
Developing or implementing new programs
Modifying existing programs
Administering ongoing programs
Providing appropriate liaisons
3. Do you believe that more should be done in this subject area? If so, please specify the types of
assistance needed.____________________________________________________________________
4. In what ways could this document be improved? ________________________________________________
5. How did this document come to your attention? ____________________________________________
6. How are you planning to use the information contained in this document? __________________________
7. Please check one item that best describes your affiliation with corrections or criminal justice.
If a governmental program, please also indicate the level of government.
_____ Citizen group
_____ College/university
_____ Community corrections
_____ Court
_____ Department of corrections or prison
_____ Jail
_____ Juvenile justice

_____ Legislative body
_____ Parole
_____ Police
_____ Probation
_____ Professional organization
_____ Other government agency
_____ Other (please specify)

8. Optional:
Name: ____________________________________________________________________________
Agency: ____________________________________________________________________________
Address: __________________________________________________________________________
Telephone:__________________________________________________________________________
Classification of High-Risk and Special Management Prisoners:
A National Assessment of Current Practices

 

 

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