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Custody Assessment

Caseworker with an Inmate

Custody Assessment is a division of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, which facilitates all inmate and detainee housing and movement within the correctional facilities. The Division also acts as the primary liaison between all other State and county correctional facilities. The division consists of the following areas:

Classification

In 2005, the Department’s classification system was reorganized to include new policies, procedures, documentation and forms. Created were guidelines and specified individual service plans for inmates, commonly referred to as ISP’s. The concept was based upon a philosophy of "earning" advancement to housing in lower levels of security.

A new point–based evaluative assessment tool is used that is predicated upon factual information, rather than self–reported intake questions. This tool helps identify those inmates who have the propensity to re–offend, while also providing numeric scores to denote risk levels and identify lower risk offenders.

Under the more comprehensive Classification process, inmates and detainees are immediately given complete assessments to screen for such items as health, level of security risk, and to determine the proper Individual Service Plan, which acts as a guide for their educational, vocational, and medical needs.

Domestic Violence / Victim Advocate

The Suffolk County Victim Services Unit provides services to hundreds of victims whose lives have been impacted by crime.

The Unit, through the experienced Victim Advocate, works with the Criminal History Systems Board, other county houses of correction, local district attorney’s offices, and community victim support agencies to identify and help victims. The Advocate identifies victims, contacts him or her, and helps the victim understand the legal process, particularly regarding notification of changes in the status of the offender who harmed the victim. Over two–thirds of the victims served by the Unit are victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence and assault. The Victim Advocate provides critical information and support to victims, as well as a consistent voice and contact.

Field Supervision

The Field Supervision Unit (FSU) mission is to oversee the Community Supervision Program, which consists of inmates in departmental custody that who reside at home and in halfway houses. The FSU is an important component of the departmental pre–release program. Prior to an inmate’s participation in the program the residence is inspected and all persons residing at that location are confidentially investigated. When all FSU / classification criteria are met, the inmate participants are enrolled in a voice–tracking program. This program consists of the inmate being accountable for their daily activities by making assigned call–ins into the voice recognition system. All inmates must document their respective daily plans, i.e. job searches, doctors appointments, etc. on a daily itinerary which is then reviewed by FSU personnel. They are then given set call–in times throughout the day upon approval by the staff. Field Supervisors assigned to the FSU on a daily basis monitor all inmates residing in a pre–release setting (home and halfway houses) while also monitoring the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department male and female pre–release programs.

Records

The Records Department works under the Custody Assessment Division at the Suffolk County House of Correction. The Department is tasked with processing and the maintenance of all legal documentation and all other relevant records pertaining to inmates and detainees. The Records staff must verify and process all sentenced inmate’s in–state and out–of–state criminal history backgrounds, via CJIS and the FBI’s AFIS system.

The Records Department collects and enters the data regarding all inmate’s sentence structure, jail credit and/or earned good time deductions, as well as bails, warrants, and habeas corpus for all inmates and detainees. The Records Supervisors verify that all legal correspondence is in accordance with Massachusetts General Law.

Records also assists in the collection of DNA for CODIS/State Police, as well as the identification and registration of all convicted sex offenders entering the House of Correction for the Sex Offender Registry Board.

The Sheriff’s Department’s Victim Advocate is also a part of Records. The Victim Advocate identifies certified petitioners who are entitled to receive CORI information and offers victim services.

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