Series VPRS 11927
Female Prisoner Classification Files
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series Circa 1940 - 1992
  Series in Custody 1961 - 1993
  Contents 1961 - 1993
Public Access: Closed
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1940 - 1959 Penal and Gaols Branch, Chief Secretary's Department VA 1464
1960 - 1971 Social Welfare Branch, Chief Secretary's Department VA 2784
1971 - 1979 Social Welfare Department VA 946
1979 - 1983 Department of Community Welfare Services VA 613
1983 - 1992 Office of Corrections VA 1063
1992 - 1992 Department of Justice VA 3085
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1992 - 2003 Department of Justice VA 3085
2003 - cont Corrections Victoria VA 4819
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    The files in this series are arranged alphabetically by surname. Researchers should scan the consignment details for the person(s) in whom they are interested.

  • Function / Content
    Originally these files were created by the Prisoner Classification Committee, based at Pentridge, to record details of each prisoner's background. This information was then used by the Classification Committee to determine at which type of institution the prisoner was to be confined and what level of security would be required. From the 1970s onwards the files were also used to record the subsequent management of a prisoner which may include reclassification.

    Originally classification of prisoners in Victoria was based on the sex of the offender, their age and type of crime committed. In 1950 the Inspector-General of Penal Establishments spent six months in Europe and the United States studying modern prison techniques. His report, published in October 1951, recommended sweeping changes to the Victorian prison system.

    One of the recommendations in the report involved the classification of prisoners. From around 1956 greater emphasis was placed on prisoner training; particularly programs designed to raise the educational levels of prisoners. The particular focus group was prisoners with very low literacy and numeracy skills. Several prisons were equipped with primary level schools and prisoners were sent to whichever prison the Classification Committee thought could benefit them educationally. Proximity of family members was also considered.

    The files contain a classification sheet detailing the prisoner's personal history including information regarding birthplace, education, work history, religion, intelligence level and immediate family.

    The classification sheet also contains the Classification Committee's decision on the prisoner providing such information as security level required (maximum, medium or minimum), employment during sentence, training while in prison and the institution (prison) to which the prisoner was to be sent.

    The files may also contain information regarding the prisoner's prior convictions, progress reports on behaviour during incarceration and special reports (such as reports detailing the prisoner's reaction to transfers between divisions of a prison or to another prison). These may have been used in circumstances when a prisoner was undergoing reclassification. Files may contain reports written by the Classification Officer and reviews of the prisoner's classification. Sometimes a record of the prisoner's training while in prison is included.

    Some files may also contain photographs of the prisoner and/or newspaper reports concerning the prisoner's "crime".

    A small portion of the files relates to individuals who were held in prison pending deportation. These files are denoted with the word Deportee on the cover.

  • Recordkeeping System
    This series is arranged alphabetically by prisoner surname. Originally only about sixty percent of the P1 consignment was found to have a prisoner number indicated on the file, the remaining files were unnumbered. For this reason the decision was made to process the records alphabetically by the prisoners surname.

    This series was originally arranged according to three different systems. Prior to 1959 files were arranged according to a sequential number allocated when a person was sent to prison. No records have been located to indicate how these numbers were allocated.

    In 1959 the Penal and Gaols Branch decided to create two files for a particular prisoner. One file was created by central administration (coloured yellow) and the initial prison to which the prisoner was sent created another file (coloured green). The green prison file followed the prisoner from prison to prison. An annual single number controlled both the yellow and green files. The number was prefixed by the year of creation (ie 57/515). Prisoners who re-offended were given the same number allocated to them during their previous period of detention.

    It is apparent from viewing these records that the central file contains more information than the prison file. During this period most of the prisoner management was controlled centrally. When a prisoner was released or died the green prison file was returned to the Classification Office for filing with the central (yellow) file.

    Female prisoner numbers were allocated from the Prisoner Classification Number Register (VPRS 11898) between the years 1959 and 1983. The register recorded the number and names of the prisoner. It is not known as at February 1999 how prisoner numbers were allocated in 1984.

    An Index to Female Prisoner Classification Number Book (VPRS 11899) exists from 1982. It is not known if any indexes prior to 1982 exist for female prisoners.

    In 1985 the system was computerised and the numbering system reverted to a sequential number referred to as a corrections Record Number (CRN). This system was known as the Prisoner Information Management System (P.I.M.S). As at February 1999 no outputs from P.I.M.S have been transferred to the Public Record Office Victoria. With this system two files continued to be created, one centrally and the other by the particular prison. The prison file continued to follow the prisoner from prison to prison. Most of the original documentation was now kept on the prison file and the central file contained mostly duplicates.

    Subsequent Series

    In 1992 the Office of Corrections began to use a new file to record the classification and subsequent management of a prisoner. These files, known as the Individual Management of Prisoner File (IMP) were created to eventually replace the Classification file.

    Individual Management of Female Prisoner Files have been transferred to the Public Record Office Victoria as VPRS 11897.

    The provisions of PROS 96/10 General Disposal Schedule for Prison Records allows Classification files created after 1991 to be destroyed. Similar information may be found in the Individual Management of Prisoner File.

More research resourcesMore research resources
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1982 - 1992 Index to Female Prisoner Classification Number Book VPRS 11899
Controlled SeriesControlled Series
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
Previous SeriesPrevious Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
- 1992 Individual Management of Female Prisoner Files VPRS 11897
List/s of records in this seriesList/s of records in this series
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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1961 - 1993 Closed 13
P0002 1979 - 1984 Closed 6
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1982 - 1992 Index to Female Prisoner Classification Number Book VPRS 11899
More research resourcesMore research resources