1. There are a plethora of factors that are used to determine the classification of offenders. To begin, classification, “describe the factors which are used to determine the classification of offenders. Among these various factors, which do you believe is the most important to the classification of the individual offender and why” (Austin, 2003). With that being said, the factors that determine the classification of offenders include, “criminal history, previous incarceration behaviors, substance abuse history and other social and personal factors including educational attainment” (Clear, Reisig & Cole, 2016). So, when these factors are jointly taken into consideration, they determine the risk and needs of the offender.
Thus, based on the various factors, I believe that the most important classification is the criminal history of the offender. This is because classifying someone based on personal factors, I feel, is a bias of the corrections system, so the only substantial evidence that could classify an offender is their previous criminal record which is why I feel that this is the most important classification.
2. When it comes to determining the classification of offenders, many different factors can be taken into consideration. A classification system applies a set of objective criteria to all inmates in order to arrive at an appropriate classification (Clear et al., 2016). With this being said, the system includes different aspects or factors to fully classify accordingly. The main factors used are: (1) current and prior offense histories, (2) previous experiences in the justice system, and (3) substance abuse patterns (Clear et al., 2016). However, there can be overlaps within these classifications. Some situational offenders can have emotional problems while some career criminals may be addicts (Clear et al., 2016). This raises the question, which of these factors is the most important to the classification of the individual offender?
Personally, I feel like current and prior offense histories would be the most important factor to consider. When someone considers offenders, the typical response is to ask first what the person’s crime is and then what the person’s criminal history is (Clear et al., 2016). I am taking a sociology class that looks at deviant behavior (especially in criminals) and I learned that looking at trends and patterns is beneficial for understanding a criminal, thus considering current and prior offense histories is an important aspect to analyze. Also, if we analyze what the common offense was that an offender may have committed more than once, we can contribute to better help for the individual, especially rehabilitation. Evaluating patterns is a step in the right direction, as it can put an end to the problem more efficiently. This is one of the main reasons why I feel understanding current and prior offense histories would be the most important out of all the classification criteria, however, the other factors have their own benefits as well.
3. Classifying offenders is an important tool correctional staff uses for a number of different reasons. By classifying offenders, staff can evaluate their risk to offend again, what program they should be put into while incarcerated, among other things. There are three main factors used when classifying an offender: current and prior offense history, previous experience in the justice system, and substance abuse patterns (Clear et al., 2016, p. 155). It is easy to see why these are the main factors used, because each one tells an important story, whether it be the history of the offender or predicts how they may behave in the future. All of these things must be considered when an offender arrives to a facility. Of the factors, I believe their current and prior offense history is the most important to the classification of the inidividual. The crime a person committs is often very telling, as well as how often they have committed crime before. As I have mentioned in previous discussions, I believe that the purpose of the correctional system should be rehabilitation, not incapacitation. With that in mind, understanding the offender’s past helps us create a plan to steer them away from retracing the same steps. In addition, by understanding the offender’s history, staff gets a better idea of the type of person they are dealing with. A first time offender charged with drug possession should be treated very differently than someone who was a history of repeated violent sexual harrassment and abuse. Even further, asking this one question can help guide staff in evaluating risk and program placement, where I believe the other two factors cannot do as clearly. HOwever, at the end of the day, each factor is important, because human behavior is very complex and cannot be attributed to just one factor, thus the necessity of multiple.
4. There are a few different factors that can be used to determine the classification of offenders. The factors include the seriousness of the crime that has been committed, the mental status of the individual, the likeliness of the person committing that offense again or committing another type of offense, the criminal history the person has, and the individual needs the person would have in the correctional system. All these factors are very helpful in the classification process. Having these different factors make it easier to know what exactly the person needs punishment wise, and what they need for their well-being, along with what is needed for their future. The most important factor in my opinion is the mental status of the offender. I feel this is the most important factor because sometimesnyou never know what a person is going through when you just look at them. Knowing the persons mental state is crucial because you never know how a person can snap towards another person just from a glance, or by something that is said to them. The slightest thing can trigger a person. Which this can then lead to many issues in their future and within the correctional system. Mentality is also important because the person can actually be very dangerous without anyone knowing.
5. Offenders are placed in classification due to their already established offence history, substance abuse patterns, behaviour with inmates and already established experience within the justice system. Offence criteria are to classify offenders as to the seriousness of the crime committed either to the crime committed being minimal charge or other. Risk criteria classify offenders as to the probability of future criminal conduct on the projected possibility that the offender might offend again. Lastly is program criteria to classify offenders as to the nature of correctional treatment appropriate to the person’s need and situation as per the offender (Clear, 2016). Personally, from the three listed I lean towards the risk criteria, due to an already established within the criminal justice system where a timeline of offences can be observed or how the offence can be seen as detrimental to others if released back into society.