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What Happens When a Person is Incarcerated in a State Prison?

NCJ Number
Hallie Martyniuk
Date Published
4 pages
This paper reviews the admission procedures for a person committed to a Pennsylvania State prison.
The new inmate first undergoes the diagnostic and classification process. The inmate is screened for mental, physical, and emotional problems, and this becomes the basis for an individualized correctional plan. It also identifies the inmate's strengths, such as his/her education, skills, and emotional stability. Male and female inmates are processed at different diagnostic and classification centers. Each inmate is assigned a corrections counselor, who works with the inmate to set up and manage his/her programming while in prison. The counselor does not engage in any treatment. After completing diagnostic testing and interviews, the inmate is assigned a custody level, which determines the amount of security needed to manage the inmate. The specialized programs in a Pennsylvania prison are then described. The program of the special management unit is geared toward managing disruptive and/or violent inmates who pose a risk to other inmates and staff. This program is designed to move the inmate through phases based upon his/her behavior and ability to function well under reduced levels of supervision. Special needs units (SNU) prove a safe and secure setting, along with specialized treatment services for an inmate identified as being unable to function in a general population housing unit. Inmates in this nit may include those diagnosed as mentally ill, emotionally unstable, mentally retarded, or physically or developmentally challenged. Such a placement does not require the mental health commitment process. Mental health units are certified to provide mental health services within a correctional facility. They are operated by vendors under contract to the Department of Corrections, and they are licensed and monitored by the Department of Public Welfare. 1 reference and 1 note