Classification is an objective process by which inmates are systematically subdivided
into categories for security and programmatic reasons to ensure the safety of community, staff and inmates.
The classification assessment evaluates the risk the inmate may present to the security of the facility along with the
requirements of the MCSO Detention Bureau and the needs of inmates. The 1981 U.S. District Court decision Hart v. Hill
mandates that inmates are promptly classified, managed and housed according to several factors.
An inmate's current offender status and arrest and conviction history are reviewed and scored in order to assign
a specific security level. Several non-scored factors are also considered when determining housing or determining the
need for intervention or classification level override. Non-scored factors include institutional behavior, special
housing assessment, medical needs, psychiatric needs, mental or learning disabilities and suicide risk.
Classification is the custodial information network for the Detention Bureau. Data collected during the
Classification Process provides the basis for decisions regarding an inmate's security level, custody status,
housing requirements, program needs and housing in the least restrictive custody level necessary to maintain safety
During the initial classification assessment or while the inmate is already in custody, it
may be determined that an inmate requires special housing. Special housing is a
category of housing reserved for inmates whose introduction or continued presence in general population would pose a
substantial threat to the inmate, other inmates, staff or security of the institution. Special housing includes Close
Custody, Administrative Segregation, NOC and Juvenile Housing. Directed Housing is for those inmates
with significant disabilities that require wheelchairs, assist bars, shower and restroom
accommodations, but still afford the inmate the ability to be housed in general population.
Once the classification assessment is completed and the custody level determined, the inmate is
assigned to a facility with the appropriate security level.
The Classification Section of the MCSO consists of forty four (44) civilian employees many of
whom have prior experience in the detention or correctional field. These 44 Inmate Classification
Specialists have college degrees with education and training in the
behavioral and social sciences. The specialist will conduct their initial assessments in
Central Intake of the 4th Ave Jail. Many specialists are assigned to the various jail
facilities for reclassification and special housing assignments. In the calendar year 2010
the section classified in excess of 66,000 inmates.