By Patricia Holland
Some of the most important prison furniture that a correctional facility can invest in are stainless steel accessories, security showers, and security plumbing fixtures. These products are designed to address fundamental safety concerns that have plagued prisons for millennia.
The three biggest safety concerns in prisons are suicide attempts, vandalism, and weapons making. Vandalism involves more than destruction of property. It is often a distraction to get guards to focus on something other than inmates so that inmates can attack. Prison officials have to constantly be on the lookout for inmates who attempt these actions because failure to stop them in advance can lead to copy cat behavior and possible rioting.
There are specific actions, as well, that inmates have historically done on a consistent basis to cause mischief and harm.
1. They would hang themselves by tying a homemade rope to a shower head or shower hook.
2. They would flood the cells by stopping up toilets.
3. They would to cut themselves on sharp edges.
4. They would break off pieces of metal to manufacture knives
Inmates will, when frustrated, often try to destroy things in their cell. They will attempt to break prison furniture. At other times, they will use foreign objects to stop the plumbing fixtures and flood their cells. In many cases this is more than vandalism.
Prison furniture evolved out of the need to reduce the likelihood of such incidents. Anti-ligature products that are now sold to prison include, but are not limited to, security towel hooks, security book shelf units, shelf for general storage, toothbrush holders, soap dishes, and plumbing fixtures such as lavatories, security showers, urinals, and toilet sink combo units.
Regardless of who manufactures these products, they are all engineered with certain characteristics that minimize the ability of prisoners to do harm to themselves or others. They are also made in ways that allow architects to install them in any minimum, medium, or maximum security environment.
The anti ligature features of prison furniture are all directly related to past inmate behavior and the contemporary policy of proactively preventing this behavior, as much as it can be prevented, before it occurs.
— Any welds are ground smooth so there are no seams where metal sheets can be broken apart to create a sharp cutting surface.
— Minimum components are used to build these fixtures to reduce the ability to produce weapons.
— Most products have very rounded edges that cannot be used to cut and that cannot be sharpened.
— Shower heads and hooks break off when too much weight is applied.
— Prison security plumbing fixtures, such as combo lavatory toilets and stainless steel toilets, can take thousands of pounds of impact force without breaking free from the wall.
— Water control and superior flushing ability prevents plumbing from being used to flood cells.
Prison furniture designed with these attributes has produced measurable improvements in correctional facility security.
1. When inmates cannot break a vandal resistant fixture, their anger is invalidated, and they can often be calmed down more quickly.
2. If inmates attempt suicide by hanging, the broken hooks will give them away to guards.
3. It is so difficult to make weapons that any attempt to do so is more likely to be detected and stopped before something happens.
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