A new correctional facility in California that features more than 1,000 Norix correctional furniture products was recently named Facility of the Month by Correctional News for its strides in becoming a “model for corrections with compassion.”

The Maple Street Correctional Center (MSCC) in Redwood City, Calif is a 257,000-square-foot, $165 million facility completed this year that features “sizable space for inmate programs, natural light and ventilation, artwork, top-notch staff amenities and significant sustainability features,” according to Correctional News.

The article states that the 576-bed facility is trying to achieve LEED Gold certification and is delivering “an innovative approach to how inmates can serve out their sentences while bettering themselves through programs, which could ultimately help to reduce recidivism.”

This new approach to corrections, in which facilities are becoming more humanized, is gaining steam in the United States and already is established in progressive countries in Europe. Some researchers and correctional officials believe that creating a more normalized environment for inmates can:

  • Boost inmate and staff morale
  • Encourage social engagement
  • Promote dignity
  • Lower tension
  • Improve staff safety
  • Provide visual interest
  • Offer positive distractions
  • Calm the equilibrium
  • Reduce recidivism

According to the article, architects and jail officials visited correctional facilities around the country to learn about “best practices,”

“The one thing we took away was that many of the jails we visited were very dark and very depressing to inmates and staff operating the jail,” Sam Lin, senior capital project manager at the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, said in the article. “We felt their only function was to warehouse the inmates. After the visits, the sheriff and administrators wanted to do something different. They wanted to bring in the life, the different programs and make this very different from the rest of the jails. So that is how we started.”

The facility design and programming may seem radical to some. The facility features ping pong tables, program rooms with large screen TVs and surround sound, housing units with names such as Ocean, Bay, Valley, Aspen and Laurel, and dayrooms with enlarge photos of trees, among many other humanizing features.

“We did not use our typical colors,” Lt. David Titus, project director with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, told Correctional News. “We used colors that are shown to reduce stress and promote healing.”

Although not directly mentioned in the article, the facility features a mammoth amount of Norix Furniture products in our Naturals Color Palette, a selection of hues specifically chosen for its ability to humanize facilities that have historically been institutional in nature.

Additionally, Norix products are GREENGUARD Gold certified. This certification recognizes products with low chemical emissions, which can contribute to healthier indoor environments. Products that have achieved GREENGUARD Gold Certification can qualify for Indoor Environmental Quality credits within the LEED Rating System, which may assist Maple Street Correctional Center to achieve LEED Gold status.

Norix products currently installed at the facility include, but are not limited to:

Hondo Nuevo® Series – A new line of unique furniture that combines superior durability, comfort and style and includes chair, bench and wedge options that allow for flexible, modular seating arrangements.

Forté™ Series – This designer series of furniture is fashioned for comfort, flexibility and durability. With a variety of colors to choose from and an upholstery option for seating, this series is made to humanize intensive-use environments and includes a lounge chair and guest chair that come with or without arms, and a café and occasional table.

Titan Series Panel Base Beds – Titan was designed to perform in the most challenging environments. This series features all steel construction along with high-impact laminates for residential accents. Beds come in singles or bunks and deliver worry-free performance year after year.

Integra Chairs – These chairs are specifically designed for intensive use applications, yet comfortable and lightweight. They’re molded in one piece so you don’t have to worry about assembled components coming loose. They’re stackable and pass the rigid California Technical Bulletin 133 Flammability Test.

Max-Master Tables – Engineered for superior strength and durability, the Max-Master series is particularly well suited for dining halls and dayrooms where reliable performance is a must. Whether bolted to the floor or freestanding on adjustable glides, the distinctive individual seat/leg design provides superior stability than traditional pedestal tables.

And to ensure that the furniture was properly installed, MSCC used Norix Furniture’s Installation Services. These services are particularly useful for facilities that do not have on-site teams to provide installation. Norix Installation Services offers:

  • Expert installation services, performed by professionals experienced in all facility installations.
  • Complex installation capabilities, including field drilling into concrete, secure bolt-down and application of security caulk.
  • All labor, installation hardware and materials.
  • Seamless transaction on same purchase order as furniture.
  • A reinforced product warranty.