When addressing furniture needs for corrections institutions, it is vital to know which type of supervision model is in place – direct supervision or indirect supervision. The type of supervision model determines how facility space is allocated and consequently prescribes the furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) needed in each. With nearly 30 years in the corrections industry, Norix Group understands the unique qualities of both systems, which allows us to develop the products and performance features that make sense for each environment. Although the mode of operation may be different, each system ultimately seeks to deter acts of violence and minimize the amount of stress on staff and inmates, as well as deter property damage and vandalism.

An indirect supervision facility often has an enclosed control booth that overlooks a dayroom or pod area containing single cells. The number of cells within a pod area varies from facility to facility. Officers will typically communicate and oversee inmates through use of a public address (PA) system. The officers’ primary role is to oversee the pod, observe inmate behavior and operate the control system. Should a major incident take place, backup staff is called to the pod to intervene. Staff safety is often provided by this enclosure, while inmate safety is preserved by separating the population into their individual cells. Indirect systems require extremely durable, vandal-resistant furniture, fixtures, and locks in the pods and cells.  To equip each of those areas, Norix offers a line of heavy-duty stainless steel, bolt-down products called Ironman® (Click to see Ironman® Brochure). These include cell bunks of various types, wall-mount desks, Citadel™ property storage containers and washroom fixtures. Each are designed and constructed to be extremely durable and tamper-resistant.

The direct supervision facility establishes an expectation of acceptable behavior for the inmate population. One of the major differences between indirect supervision and direct supervision is that with the latter, staff will often be stationed inside the pod among the inmates, not separated from them. With direct supervision, the staff will continually interact with the inmate population; with security being highly dependent upon the staff’s ability to detect and defuse potential problems. In addition, other noticeable differences in a direct supervision model include having television-viewing areas, game tables, or exercise equipment. Pods are usually semi-open and not further broken down into individual cells, which allows both inmates and staff greater freedom of movement.  Behavior-management considerations that affect furniture selection include identifying the types of privileges allowed to inmates with good behavior, and determining the result(s) of unacceptable behavior; then correlating furniture selection to suit those situations.

When addressing the common areas of direct supervision facilities, the staff may choose movable pieces such as Norix’ rotationally-molded chairs offered in our Hondo®, Touchcare®, or Forté™ Series seating. Movable tables such as the Jupiter or Forté Café offer the option of being weighted with sand so that they can’t be lifted. Our Max-Master Series offers fixed tables and seating with a patented leg/seat design for greater stability. Table tops are available in tamper-resistant laminate, solid-surface or stainless steel.

Although the type of furniture best-suited for indirect or direct supervision facilities may be different, durability under extreme conditions is essential for both.  Much of Norix’ furniture and equipment can be bolted to the floor or anchored to the wall – using special tamper-resistant hardware. For facilities that want the extra peace-of-mind that comes with skilled, experienced installation, Norix offers Factory Authorized Installation services as an option.

An experienced Norix representative is available to visit your site and speak with your staff to help determine the right furnishings and fixtures for your facility. Call our toll-free number at:  (800) 234-4900, or visit www.norix.com to connect with the representative in your area.

Additional Resources

Norix Corrections Furniture

Norix Corrections Brochure (PDF)

Ironman® Series Brochure (PDF)

Planning and Design of Correctional Facilities Whitepaper