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Section 5: Terms Used in the Field

This section defined a number of basic terms used in this module. These terms will be highlighted in purple throughout the module, allowing you to rollover the term to see the definition.

Active listening skills:
A technique for improving understanding of what is being said by taking into account how it is said and the nonverbal signs and body language that accompany it.
A system of assessing inmate criminogenic risks and needs for the purpose of determining transition needs; for use in the facility as well as the in the community.
Custodial level:
The degree of supervision an inmate receives in a jail facility.
Criminogenic needs:
Factors that contribute to criminal behavior and can be changed.
Custody reassessment/review:
The periodic review and update of an incarcerated person's custody level, which takes into consideration any change in the person's risk and needs.
Inmate classification:
An objective means of assessing severity and type of crime and inmate risks while in jail (as opposed to risk of recidivism after release), resulting in specific risk classifications and cell assignment.
Jail programs:
Any formal, structured activity that takes inmates out of their cells and engages them in instrumental tasks.
Motivational interviewing:
A direct, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence regarding change.1
Needs assessment instrument:
Used to identify criminogenic and noncriminogenic needs of individuals for assignment to employment, education, drug treatment, mental health, and other programs.
Preclassification assessment:
To be completed on all newly admitted inmates prior to housing assignments to determine custody levels. (Initial custody – conduct primary classification based upon verified, objective data, generally within 72 hours, if preclassification housing is available.)
The activities that are provided, such as educational and vocational opportunities, counseling services, recreation, and hobbies.
The degree to which an instrument consistently measures an attribute over time.
The strategy used to identify an individual's potential risk or needs as he or she enters the jail or another agency.
The degree to which a measure accurately reflects the concept that it is intended to measure.


1 Mark D. Martin and Thomas A. Rosazza, Resource Guide for Jail Administrators (Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, 2004), p. 139.

Let's Review

Let's revisit what we have learned so far in the Screening and Assessment module. Please answer the following questions.

1. Which of the following statement about screening is true?


2. Motivational interviewing is a technique for eliciting behavior change.


In this section, you learned basic terms that are used throughout the modules.


All arrestees entering your facility should undergo a screening that examines risk to reoffend, pretrial release risk, basic physical health, behavioral health, risk of drug or alcohol withdrawal, and suicide risk. Individuals scoring in the medium or high range on any screening tool should receive a comprehensive risk/needs assessment and a specialized assessment. All staff completing screening and assessment tools must have received training, which at a minimum encompasses an understanding of the prevalent risks and needs of jail populations, active listening skills, confidentiality, and tool-specific information.