Custody is determined using the Custody Assessment and Reclassification System (CARS) that groups inmates according to the level of risk they represent to the public, the staff, other inmates and the facility itself.
The system uses five (5) distinct groups, described as custody levels: maximum, close, medium, minimum, and community.
Maximum: Refers to inmates who are under a sentence of death.
Close: Refers to inmates who must be maintained within an armed perimeter or under direct, armed supervision when outside of a secure perimeter.
Medium: Refers to inmates eligible for placement at a work camp with a secure perimeter, but who are not eligible for placement in an outside work assignment without armed supervision.
Minimum: Refers to inmates eligible for outside work assignments, but not for placement at a community residential facility.
Community: Refers to inmates eligible for placement at a community residential facility.
How is an inmate's custody grade changed?
As the inmate serves his sentence, he or she will be reevaluated whenever something happens that could change the inmate's custody. These events could be positive or negative. Examples of this would be earning gaintime that reduces time remaining to serve and would tend toward lower custodies, or an inmate receives a disciplinary report for a rule violation that would tend towards higher custodies.
The custody system is paperless and dynamic. Any event that changes the inmate's suggested custody causes an appointment for the inmate's Classification Officer to review the inmate's custody.
Items affecting custody are:
Criminal history and the inmate's history of violent crime.
Time remaining to serve.
Sex offenses and escapes.
Detainers and alien status.
Good adjustment and program participation.
As an inmate completes more of his or her sentence, the time remaining drops, thus reducing his or her CARS custody score (as long as he or she is behaving or does not have a sex offense, escape or detainer).
Does custody affect release date, work release, or visitation?
An inmate must be classified at the community custody level to qualify for work release.
Visitation and release dates are not affected by an inmate's custody.