Intake Screening and Assessment



Intake Screening and Assessment

Chalyne Arvie

CPSS 370

Angelique Grady


It is true to state the correctional system utilizes various forms during the intake and assessment process and this could differ by state. The correctional classification systems have moved from being just subjective to being more objective measures which are guided by the law. There are various procedures which have to be undertaken during the assessment phase of the helping phase in the correctional system.

Some of the forms which are used during the assessment phase of the correctional process include inmate screening, initial custody assessment, custody reassessment and then the needs assessment and reassessment (Austin 1998). Inmate screening occurs immediately after the inmate has been booked and is usually completed by the intake officers or the booking officers. This is mainly done so as to determine whether the inmate will be placed in the general population or needs to be isolated d`1 `1ue to factors such as anger management, mental conditions or even health factors. Initial custody reassessment s usually conducted for only those inmates who are going to be housed in the general population area. This form allows each inmate some form of custody. Several factors are taken into consideration before granting an inmate custody level and they include factors such as escape history, drug, and substance abuse and even the inmate’s offense history. This is done so that the inmate can be accorded their appropriate custody level. Custody reassessment is later on conducted to determine if the inmate was allowed their appropriate custody level (Worrall & Morris 2011). It takes into consideration the inmate’s behavior while in custody as opposed to their behavior at their time of being booked. Finally, the needs and reassessment phase takes into consideration factors such as the inmate’s education level, vocational skill, and health. This is to allow for the system to determine which programs are suitable for the inmate. The inmates are reassessed from time to time to ensure that their needs are effectively met while they are still in prison.

An inmate is classified and treated according to their identifying risk factors. These factors could include the inmate’s education level, employment status, current substance use, marital status and residential stability and current age. Other factors include the inmate’s offense history and escape history (Latessa, Lemke, Makarios& Smith 2010). After these factors have been carefully analyzed, a decision is made on where the inmate will be placed i.e. the general population or in solitary. They determine how much a custody the inmate will be accorded i.e. minimum, medium or maximum custody depending on their level of risk assessment. Those inmates who have a higher risk status are mostly placed solitary confinement while those who have a low-risk status are placed in the general population and are accorded more freedom of movement.

After the inmate has been carefully assessed and is in the correctional facility, they are handled in accordance to the results which were received during the intake and assessment process. There are many advantages which accrue to a facility which uses an objective inmate classification system and they include effective and improved security and control of the inmates, effective appropriation of security personnel to the facility and also identifying those inmates who are eligible for parole and early release from prison. The instruments and forms of assessment and classification should be valid, fair and reliable so that they can provide information which will be used in making decisions regarding the inmates who are being brought into the correctional system.


Austin, J. (1998). Objective jail classification systems: A guide for jail administrators. National Institute of Corrections.

Latessa, E. J., Lemke, R., Makarios, M., & Smith, P. (2010). The creation and validation of the Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS). Fed. Probation74, 16.

Worrall, J. L., & Morris, R. G. (2011). Inmate custody levels and prison rule violations. The Prison Journal91(2), 131-157.