8 Crim. Just. & Behavior 3 (1981)

handle is hein.journals/crmjusbhv8 and id is 1 raw text is: 



State University of New York at Albany

A problem with classification in prisons is that of disjunctures between recommendations
based on classification data and the process whereby inmate assignments are made. This
problem is aggravated by crowding, which limits differential assignment to extreme cases,
such as inmates who have trouble surviving. Forging classification-assignment links
presupposes communication among staff who successively deal with each inmate;
classification recommendations must also be program-relevant and flexibly updated to
take adjustment data into account. Nonclassification staff and inmates must have input
into classification decisions. If possible, this input should be collaborative. Information
exchange among staff runs into a concern with confidentiality. Where classifiers protect
confidentiality, they risk having recommendations ignored or circumvented. They also
run this risk if they view classification as an autonomous process or function.

E leven years ago, in one of the symposium papers I deliver at
      ten-year intervals, I talked about classifying violent peo-
ple (Toch, 1970). At the same time, I suggested that it doesn't
matter what classifications we use as an aid to our thinking-in-
cluding my classifications and my thinking-but that I see prob-
lems arising where categorizations lead to sorting and disposi-
   I worry about sorting-assignment problems today as I did in
 1969, although I know that classifications have fewer conse-
 quences now than they did a decade ago. What I mean is that
 fewer dispositions in life (including in correctional life) are based

 Author's Note: This article was adapted from a presentation at the annual
 convention of the American Psychological Association, Montreal, Canada,
 September 1, 1980.

 CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND BEHAVIOR, Vol. 8 No. 1, March 1981 3-14
 0 1981 American Association of Correctional Psychologists

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