The Bureau of Justice estimates that over 2,000,000 people were in federal or state prison or local jails in 2015. The social ramifications of this could be debated for years to come. Protecting that population’s health and wellbeing is a responsibility for today. Institutional cleaning, think schools, hospitals, workplaces and more, has long been about protecting public health. Corrections cleaning ups that ante.
The reasons are obvious. “Most jails and prisons were constructed to maximize public safety, not minimize the transmission of disease,” says Joseph Bick in his paper Infection Control in Jails and Prisons. As a result overcrowding is common and hand washing opportunities are limited. This leads to an increased risk of acquiring blood borne pathogens, MRSA, tuberculosis, influenza and more. Proper corrections cleaning will keep inmates, staff and visitors healthy.
Flooring materials commonly specified for public spaces like schools, malls and office buildings are robust by design. But common choices like vinyl composite tiles, sheet goods and carpet are inappropriate for correctional facilities. These flooring types use water-based adhesives, meaning the materials can be picked at, lifted off and shaped into a weapon.
Instead jail and prison designers choose flooring systems that bond permanently to the concrete substrate. These materials are also seamless, resistant to harsh cleaners and don’t absorb urine or other fluids. Floor-to-wall cove bases reduce corners where moisture and microbes accumulate and antimicrobial protection can be baked into the material.
The same thinking goes into choosing fixtures like toilets and sinks. Heavy gage stainless steel is stronger and more durable than porcelain and seamless welding means there are no accessible voids or cervices to conceal contraband.
Cleaning the Right Way
These materials are designed for easy maintenance. Unfortunately for many institutions, corrections cleaning means mopping the floor with a single or double bucket and wiping fixtures with cloths. Reports from the Cleaning Industry Research Institute shows that these methods actually leave floors and surfaces dirty as mops and cloths spread soils and germs as they go.
In answer, institutions are turning to alternative methods like spray-and-vac systems and no-touch cleaning machines. These technologies completely remove pathogens and soils, leaving floors and surfaces dry, clean and safe.
For the last 50 years, the Cleaning Management Institute has offered custodial certification programs to inmates. The curriculum covers best practices and encourages inmates to clean the prison at the highest level. This creates a safer, healthier interior and inmates leave the facility with enhanced career opportunities.