The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction maintains a uniform and objective classification level system that places inmates in the appropriate facility to ensure the safety and security of other inmates and staff, the institution, and the community. Accurately classifying inmates and placing them in institutions consistent with their security classification is a means of protecting the public, ensuring staff and inmate safety, and achieving the Department’s rehabilitative goals.
A fundamental principle of ODRC classification processes is to place inmates in the least restrictive setting possible that is still sufficient to ensure the safety and security of persons, the institution, and the community.
ODRC attempts to place inmates in an appropriate security level prison in a geographic area reasonably close to the inmate’s home to facilitate visitation by loved ones.
It is one of ODRC’s central principles to treat people differently based on their conduct while incarcerated. As inmates progress to lower security levels, they receive additional privileges and autonomy to make pro-social decisions. If they choose to engage in disruptive or violent behavior, they may move up the tier system to higher security levels, but there is always a sense of hope they can return to a previous status.
It is the policy of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to maintain a classification level system that creates a process for the classification of inmates according to their security risk. This process will consider behavior and such other objective factors as are available and relevant when assessing an inmate’s institutional security needs. Factors considered include, but are not limited to:
- History of assaultive, violent, or disruptive behavior
- Escape history
- Enemies of record
- Medical status
- Mental and emotional stability
- Notoriety of offenses
- Criminal history
- Type of sentencing and release eligibility
- Programming and education history
- STG affiliation
- Previous adjustment at less restrictive security levels
Inmates will be placed at the lowest level of security possible that is still sufficient to ensure the safety and security of persons, the institution, and the community. Inmates will be placed at institutions that are consistent with their security classification rating.
Level 1 - The lowest security level in the classification system. As part of the 3-Tier prison system, Level 1 inmates are granted the highest levels of privilege and autonomy whenever possible (subject to operational needs of the facility). Inmate behavior at Level 1 is expected to be rule compliant and pro-social and Level 1 inmates are eligible for admission to Reintegration Units.
Level 2 - A security level for inmates who are deemed in need of more supervision than Level 1 inmates, but less than Level 3 inmates. A double perimeter, razor ribbon reinforced, alarmed and patrolled fence is required for this level of security. Inmates tend to receive greater autonomy and freedom of movement during the day so as to encourage pro-social behavior and programming as part of the 3-Tier prison system. Privilege levels will be greater than Level 3 and inmates may be eligible for Reintegration Units.
Level 3 - The security level that is the next degree higher than Level 2, and requires more security/supervision than Level 2, but less than Level 4. A double perimeter, razor ribbon reinforced, alarmed and patrolled fence is required for this level of security. As part of the 3-Tier prison system, Level 3 is considered General Population, but is designed for inmates who are more likely to, or have previously engage(d), in disruptive prison behavior.
Level 4 -The security level that is the next degree higher than Level 3, and requires more security/supervision than Level 3. It represents the primary security level for Control Units in the 3-Tier System. The physical security requirements for Level 4 may vary based on the overall physical structure of the facility.
ERH - A security level for inmates who commit or lead others to commit violent, disruptive, predatory, riotous actions, or who otherwise pose a serious threat to the security of the institution as set forth in the established ERH criteria. ERH represents the highest level of security possible in the 3-Tier System and is reserved for those who cannot be safely managed at any lower security level.