Magazine article Corrections Forum

Safe Storage

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Safe Storage

Article excerpt

Property control is important to inmates. They like to know that their belongings are stored safely and securely, and will be waiting for them when they need them. A wide variety of companies provide property control systems for correctional facility use, to store anything from medication/drugs to tools to inmate property.

"There are several federal laws, like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HlPAA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley and Sarbanes-Oxley that have very clear laws pertaining to records protection for correctional employees as well as inmates. The transportation of inmates between facilities and their associated personal records require levels of security to avoid litigation if personal records are lost or stolen," explains John Samony, an independent representative of A. Rifkin Company, who provides security and supply products to the federal government, law enforcement, corrections and corporate security.

Conveyer System

Total Inmate Property Storage (TIPS) is a modular system that can be closed in completely and limited only to authorized staff, making it less likely for property to be stolen. It is designed to be efficient, flexible, to reduce claims, be dependable, expandable, and to run longer with less maintenance. The system consists of property bags with a 30-pound capacity, hung on a conveyer system. Modular track lengths can be added and single-tier systems can be converted easily to double-tier systems as storage needs increase.

"Most storage systems are static systems that require shelving and storage positions. Our conveyor based systems bring the inmates' property to the property room manager without searching," says Paul Mullen, vice president of sales and marketing, White Conveyors, Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey. "The products have a variety of storage bag solutions ranging from small personal effects bags to large locker bags that can hold all personal effects and clothing. These bags also have optional security seals to verify that they have remained closed while the inmate is [incarcerated]."

All TIPS system controls are electronic and located for easy and secure access. Automatic keypad controls are easy to use and make property retrieval efficient. Currently installed in hundreds of city, county, state and federal corrections facilities, the TIPS system is used by prisons as a part of the prisoner intake process. The locker bag is then stored until an inmate's release or court date if a suit is being stored.

The bags are re-usable. Typically all that would be required is a sanitization of the bag and it is ready for the next user.

Prisons want to be able to effectively utilize the cubic dimensions of a room. "Our system has the ability to rise to the ceiling and bring property bags down to floor level effectively, using every cubic foot of available space," explains Mullen. "Our systems are ideal for both existing facilities as well as new design and build projects. They are a solid solution for facilities from 200 to thousands of inmates. In both cases, the labor for the property room is reduced and the inmate's property is secure and properly cataloged."

Hazard-free Storage

Pacific Concepts manufactures a broad line of inmate property storage products. When the company was established in the late 1960s, most of the items that were used in property storage were taken from the marketplace and either used as is, or modified slightly for use in the prisons, according to Tim Ellwood, division marketing manager, Pacific Concepts, Greensboro, N.C.

The best example of modifying a consumer product would be the in-cell storage of an inmate's personal items which has evolved over the years, more than any other area of property storage, notes Ellwood.

"When we started selling inmate in-cell storage products, most were just adaptations of standard consumer products. The most popular item that is still in use in many facilities is the plastic 'bus' tub," explains Ellwood. …

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