Entering a California State Prison - What to Expect

 

RECEPTION AND CLASSIFICATION PROCESS

What takes place when an inmate first arrives to the prison?
Upon arrival to a prison Reception Center, the inmate must go through the reception and classification process. This could take up to 120 days. Once all the inmate’s case factors are reviewed he/she will be assigned a classification score. He/she will then participate in an initial classification committee and be recommended for appropriate placement at an institution based on his/her level. The inmate’s family location is taken into consideration, however being placed near family is not guaranteed due to many other factors.

Can I call the inmate or can he/she call me while in the reception process?
While in Reception Center, the inmate will not have telephone privileges nor will he/she be able to receive packages. However he/she can receive mail and writing supplies. The majority of prisons allow 10 stamped envelopes, and a writing tablet to be mailed in first class mail to the inmate.

To send mail to the inmate, address your letters this way.

Name, CDC#
Institution
Facility, Building #, Cell #
PO Box ____
City, State Zip Code

Can I visit the inmate while he/she is housed in the reception center?
Upon completing the visiting application process and being an approved visitor you can visit an inmate in the reception center. Reception Center visiting takes place behind glass and is by appointment only. (For further information on visiting return to the Visiting Link)

How does the Department determine which institution an inmate will be housed in?
Below is a listing of the placement scores that determine which level an inmate will be placed in:

INMATE PLACEMENT (SECURITY LEVEL)

Except as provided in section 3375.2, each inmate shall be assigned to a facility with a security level, which corresponds to the following placement score ranges:

(1) An inmate with a placement score of 0 through 18 shall be placed in a Level I facility.
(2) An inmate with a placement score of 19 through 35 shall be placed in a Level II facility.
(3) An inmate with a placement score of 36 through 59 shall be placed in a Level III facility.
(4) An inmate with a placement score of 60 and above shall be placed in a Level IV facility.

Placement Scores are determined by a thorough review of an inmates case factors to include: age, crime committed and if violence was used, prior incarcerations, gang involvement, etc.  Each year an annual review is performed by a Counselor to determine if an inmate meets the criteria to have his/her placement score reduced. An inmate has the opportunity to reduce their score if they have been programming and have not received any disciplinary actions. In contrast an inmate’s score and subsequent housing level can be increased due to receiving disciplinary actions.
                                                       

What is meant by security levels?

Level I - Facilities and Camps consist primarily of open dormitories with a low security perimeter.
Level II - Facilities consist primarily of open dormitories with a secure perimeter, which may include armed coverage.
Level III - Facilities primarily have a secure perimeter with armed coverage and housing units with cells adjacent to exterior walls.
Level IV - Facilities have a secure perimeter with internal and external armed coverage and housing units or cell block housing with cells non-adjacent to exterior walls.

After reviewing case factors and making a recommendation to a specific institution, the Classification Staff Representative (CSR) must approve "endorsement" to the institution. This process could take another 45-60 days.  The inmate must then wait for a bus seat and an available bed at the endorsed institution.

All of this information is provided in the California Code of Regulations, Title 15 - Crime Prevention and Corrections.  Attached is the link.
http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Regulations/Adult_Operations/docs/Title%2015%202009.pdf

What are classification committees?

Each determination affecting an inmate’s placement within an institution/facility, transfer between facilities, program participation, work group, or custody designation is made by a classification committee.  Equal access and effective communication is afforded in all committee hearings.
                         
Unit Classification Committee (UCC) - UCC is held for initial and subsequent program assignments/changes/transfers and composed of three members chaired by staff at the level of Facility Captain or Correctional Captain. Committee actions include:
Explain facility expectations with inmate;
Explain job/program availability and review inmate’s eligibility;
Place inmate on job or academic/vocational waiting list as appropriate;
Establish work group;
Establish custody level;
Explain appeal process and credit earning process, if eligible;
Answer inmate questions.
Inmates appear before a UCC at least annually to adjust the classification score and reevaluate his/her housing status.

Institutional Classification Committee (ICC) – This is the institution’s highest level of committee.  It consists of a minimum of three members and is chaired at the level of Warden or Chief Deputy Warden.  Events which require ICC review include: inmate behavior resulting in Administrative Segregation Housing; issues referred by lower committees; case by case reviews to determine eligibility for minimum facilities; review of Security Housing Unit term assessment and referral of cases for DRB review.

What type of privileges is an inmate entitled to while in reception?

An inmate is in privilege group U until he/she has completed the reception and classification process. During this process; there are no family visits; one half of the maximum monthly canteen draw as authorized by the secretary; telephone calls on an emergency basis only, as determined by institution/facility staff and no personal packages.  The inmate is informed of the specific privilege group and can give you this information. (California Code of Regulations, Article 3.5, Section 3044)

Privilege Group Criteria

Four privilege groups have been established which provide a graduated system of incentives to promote a desire to achieve positive goals.  Criteria for assignment to a specific privilege group shall be as follows:

Group A - full-time credit qualifying work/training program; diagnosed by a departmental physician or psychiatrist as totally disabled and incapable of performing a work/training assignment or partially disabled and assigned to a work/training program within the mental or physical capabilities of the partial disablement as determined by medical staff.

Group B - assignment to a half-time work/training program or involuntarily unassigned.

Group C - general population inmates who refuse to accept or perform in a work/training assignment.

Group D - inmates in special housing units who are not assigned to either a full-time or half-time work/training program (ASU, SHU, PSU)

Group U - reception center inmates under processing

Group Privileges and Restrictions

Privilege

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Group U

Family Visits

Yes

1 each 6 months

No

No

No

Visiting

Yes

Yes

No Family Visits

No Family Visits

No Family Visits

Canteen

Maximum as authorized

1/2 as authorized

1/4 as authorized

1/4 as authorized

1/2 as authorized

Telephone

Yes

1 per month

Emergency

Emergency

Emergency

Yard Access

Yes

Yes

Limited

Limited

Yes

Recreation Access

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Entertainment Access

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Excused Time Off

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Personal Property Package

4 per year, maximum 30 #s each

4 per year, maximum 30 #s each

No

1 per year, maximum 30 #s

No


What can an inmate expect upon completion of the reception process?

Upon completion of the reception process the inmate will be endorsed and transferred to an institution that can provide the appropriate housing. Guidelines designated in the Case Considerations, (Article 2), Cumulative Case Summary (Article 3) and Classification Process (Article 5) of Title 15 are some of the most prevalent guidelines that determine which institution an inmate is housed at. 

 

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