Policies and Resolutions

Corrections Today, April 2010 | Go to article overview

Policies and Resolutions


Jan. 22-27,2010

Public Correctional Policy on Capital Punishment

Introduction: Correctional agencies administer sanctions and punishment imposed by courts for unlawful behavior. In some jurisdictions the law permits capital punishment, and correctional officials have the final responsibility to carry out these executions. Opinions about capital punishment are strongly held, based upon fundamental values about public safety and human life.

There is no uniformity of position about such a controversial issue as capital punishment, either within the corrections profession or as a matter of public opinion at large. A single position for or against capital punishment would not be a fair or candid representation of the range of strongly held and thoughtfully considered positions that exist within the profession.

Policy Statement: Corrections professionals have a fundamental responsibility to support participation in the public dialogue concerning capital punishment, and to make available to the public and their policymakers the unique perspectives of persons working in the profession. Toward this end, correctional agencies should:

A. Support conducting research on capital punishment, to inform the public debate with accurate information about all aspects of capital punishment;

B. Support full public discussion of capital punishment, focusing on the morality, purposes and efficacy of this form of punishment;

C. Accept and encourage a diversity of opinion within the field, ensuring that employment, promotion and retention are never affected by the expression of an opinion either in support of or in opposition to capital punishment;

D. Select staff who are involved with carrying out executions on a voluntary basis, and carefully screen them and train them in execution procedures. In addition, post-execution interventions must be available to staff who participate in or are affected by the execution process; and

E. When executions are conducted, ensure that they are carried out with dignity and respect for all parties.

Public Correctional Policy on Classification

Introduction: Proper classification of offenders promotes public, staff and offender safety. It is a continuing process basic to identifying and matching offender needs to correctional resources. Classification also serves as a tool for identifying gaps in correctional services. This continuing process involves all phases of correctional management.

Policy Statement: Classification should balance the public's need for protection, the needs of offenders, and the efficient and effective operation of the correctional system. In developing and administering its classification system, a correctional agency should:

A. Develop written classification policies that establish criteria specifying different levels of security, supervision and program involvement; establish procedures for documenting and reviewing all classification decisions and actions; describe the appeal process to be used by individuals subject to classification; and specify the time frames for monitoring and reclassifying cases;

B. Develop the appropriate range of resources and services to meet the identified risk and program needs of the population served;

C. Base classification decisions on rational assessment of objective and valid information, including background material (criminal history, nature of offense, age, gender, social history, educational needs, medical/mental health needs, etc.), as well as information regarding the individual's current situation, adjustment and program achievement;

D. Train all personnel in the classification process and re quire specialized training for those directly involved in classification functions;

E. Use the classification process to assign individuals to different levels of control on the basis of valid criteria regarding risk (to self and others) and individual needs, matching these characteristics with appropriate security, level of supervision, and program services;

F. …

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