Corrections Cleaning for Health, Safety, and Well Being

by | May 22, 2017

The Bureau of Justice estimates that federal prisons, state prison, and local jails housed over 2,000,000 people as of 2015. Corrections facilities have a responsibility to create clean, healthy spaces for inmates. Corrections cleaning for health, safety, and wellbeing involves overcoming many challenges unique to these facilities.

“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. For example, prison design often leads to overcrowding while limiting hand washing opportunities for inmates. This leads to an increased risk of acquiring blood borne pathogens, MRSA, tuberculosis, influenza, and more. Proper corrections cleaning helps keep inmates, staff, and visitors healthy.

Robust Materials

Common flooring materials like vinyl composite tiles, sheet goods, and carpet withstand heavy-duty use. Unfortunately, correctional facilities can’t use the most popular flooring choices. These flooring types use water-based adhesives which means 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 seamless materials resist harsh cleaners and don’t absorb urine or other fluids. Floor-to-wall cove bases reduce corners where moisture and microbes accumulate. Additionally, antimicrobial protection can be baked into the material.

The same thinking goes into choosing fixtures like toilets and sinks. Heavy gage stainless steel withstands more abuse than porcelain. Seamless welding eliminates the possibility of voids or cervices that conceal contraband. Additionally, the design of these materials makes them easy to maintain.

Cleaning the Right Way

Unfortunately, in many institutions, corrections cleaning means mopping the floor with a single or double bucket and wiping fixtures with cloths. Cleaning Industry Research Institute reports show that mops and cloths spread soils and germs as they go, leaving floors and surfaces dirty after cleaning.

Mops limit cleaning quality, because they absorb a limited amount of soil and liquid. Once saturated, a mop simply paints the floor with contaminated cleaning solution. In order to effectively remove contaminated solution from the floor, correctional facilities turn to vacuum-powered systems, like No-Touch Cleaning. These technologies completely remove pathogens and soils, leaving floors and surfaces dry, clean, and safe.

Learning Skills

For the last 50 years, the Cleaning Management Institute offered custodial certification programs to inmates. Their curriculum covers cleaning best practices. They encourage inmates to clean their facilities at the highest level. This not only creates a safer, healthier interior. Beyond that, inmates leave the facility with enhanced career opportunities to reenter society.

Click here for corrections cleaning machines and sanitizing tools.  

Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines. Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.
Amy Milshtein
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