Frequent Questions

Inmate Classification

Note: You can access the applicable DOC policies by clicking on Policies under the About Us tab.    
1.4.B.2  Male Inmate Classification    1.4.B.14 Female Inmate Classification


How are inmates classified?

The classification system is a standardized, objective system involving initial and re-classification processes. Each inmate is reviewed by a classification board at least annually.

The inmate classification system is based predominantly on prediction of risk, including risk of escape, violence, dangerousness, and repeat criminal behavior.

Inmates are assigned one of four custody levels: Maximum, High Medium, Low Medium, or minimum. This custody level determines the facility an inmate will be housed at, their level of supervision and their access to the community.

The Department of Corrections (DOC) will exercise response to risk commensurate with each inmate’s assessed risk to the degree possible.

Does an inmate have a right to be housed in a certain facility?

No inmate has any implied right or expectation to be housed in any particular facility, participate in any specific program, or receive any specific service; and an inmate is subject to transfer from any one facility, program or service at the discretion of a warden or Secretary of Corrections (SDCL 24-2-27).

Who determines where an inmate is housed?

A unit classification board will determine an inmate’s custody level and recommend housing and programming placements. The board will also establish a date for the inmate’s next classification custody review. The board is typically made up of a unit manager, case manager and unit coordinator.

Classification decisions are guided by DOC policy and the SD DOC Inmate Classification Manual.