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Prison Classification: The Management and Psychological Perspectives (From American Prison: Issues in Research and Policy, P 163-189, 1989, Lynne Goodstein and Doris Layton MacKenzie, eds. -- See NCJ-120304)

NCJ Number
D L MacKenzie
Date Published
27 pages
A review of the historical development of prison classification for males indicates that classification research, theory, and practice have recently been developing from management and psychological perspectives.
The management perspective emphasizes the use of objective prison classification systems as a prison management tool. The assessment of inmate risk is a high priority in these models. Such systems are designed to increase the equitability, consistency, and fairness of inmate management. The increasing focus on the management model of classification has resulted from litigation, disappointment in rehabilitation programs, the rise of the justice model, and problems related to overcrowding and disillusionment with "expert-based" systems. Classification systems derived from the psychological perspective have developed from the rehabilitation model of corrections. In this model emphasis is on treatment, prediction, and understanding of the etiology of criminal behavior. Advanced statistical techniques have been used in the development of systems such as the MMPI-based classification of Megargee and his colleagues and Quay's behavioral classification system. Other models such as the I-level classification systems are deduced from developmental theory. The maintenance of both of these models of classification is necessary for understanding criminal behavior, protecting the public, treating offenders, and managing inmates effectively and fairly. 70 references.