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Name: In re Jenkins
Case #: C059321
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/25/2009
Subsequent History: rev. granted 10/21/09 (S175242)

An inmate classification score to determine custody level and privileges that depends on the inmate’s actual assignment and performance in a program is not arbitrary as it rationally can be used to assess the need for security of the inmate. Because of transfers in the prison over which he had no control, Jenkins spent more than half a year unassigned to a work, school, or vocational program. An inmate’s performance in such a program relates to his classification which, in turn, relates to his custody level. Referring to the Code of Regulations which provides that an inmate will receive conduct credits if he is willing to work even if he is not actually placed in a program, Jenkins argued that he similarly should be classified as if he was in the program. In a written order the trial court agreed with Jenkin’s argument and the warden appealed. Preliminarily, the court noted that the time for filing an appeal from a written order does not begin to run until the court undertakes to communicate the substance of the order to the parties. The appellate court then found that because classification assessing risk depends on the inmate’s actual performance in a program, there is a rational basis for the department regulation that denies performance points to an inmate not actually in a program. The trial court order, accordingly, was reversed.