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What is prisoner classification?

Prisoners are not all treated equally in prison. As soon as possible after they are sentenced, prisoners are classified to minimise the risk of harm to others and to themselves. Prisoners refer to this as 'classo'.

Their classification includes decisions about the prisoner’s security and risk ratings, their placement and sentence plan. A prisoner classification may also include reasons for the classification and may specify certain conditions.

A prisoner’s classification is determined by a ‘Sentence management panel’ (many prisoners will refer to this as the Sentence Management Unit or ‘SMU’) as soon as possible after the prisoner is sentenced.

Right to classification

A prisoner has the right to be classified ‘as soon as possible’ after being sentenced. They also have the right to their classification being reviewed at least once every year.

See s. 47(1)(l)—Corrections Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information


Corrections Act 1986 (Vic)

  • s. 47—prisoners rights

See Corrections Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Corrections Regulations 2019 (Vic)

See Corrections Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).


Corrections Victoria

See Corrections, Prisons & Parole—Sentence Management Manual(opens in a new window).