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4 things correctional facilities should demand from prisoner transport inserts

Correctional facilities need to consider everything from safety features to ease of cleaning when evaluating a purchase


By C1 Staff

Prisoner transports need to be safe, secure and fit the needs – and budgets – of departments. Choosing the right transport inserts requires a more careful evaluation of your specific needs.

Here are four questions every correctional facility should ask when evaluating a prisoner transport insert purchase:

A CO holds a pair of handcuffs at San Quentin State Prison Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, in San Quentin, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
A CO holds a pair of handcuffs at San Quentin State Prison Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, in San Quentin, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

1. What is your full range of transport needs?

You need to understand what your needs are before investing in a prisoner transport:

  • Are you looking just to transport prisoners?
  • Would a single compartment work, or do you need the option of multiple compartments?
  • Will you be using the van just for prisoner transport, or will it also be performing patrol duty or lugging bulk items such as traffic cones?

The vans can accomplish all of these tasks, but you’ll need to plan ahead and determine what you’ll be using the van for in order to configure the ideal prisoner transport insert that fits those needs.  

2. Does the prisoner insert offer maximum safety and security for officers and inmates?

Safety is always the top concern of law enforcement personnel. You want an insert with compartments that have rounded edges and are designed so that there is no protruding hardware into the compartment.

In addition, prisoner transports should have emergency exit hatches in every compartment in case prisoners need to be evacuated.

Officers transporting prisoners are already in a high-stress situation. A high level of vigilance must be maintained at all times. Prisoner inserts with easy-to-use security features can enable officers to better maintain that high level of security. In addition, some manufacturers offer optional video camera systems for even higher security.

3. What is the prisoner insert constructed of?

When selecting a prisoner transport, materials used are critically important. The strength and durability of the material used will have a major effect on the effectiveness of the prisoner transport.

Weight is a major issue – and different materials have different weights. Each van has a specific gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which is the maximum weight it can carry before damaging the vehicle. The weight of the prisoner insert, as well as the prisoners that will be transported, should be below that number. When choosing a van for prisoner transport, it’s important to select the van with the highest GVWR.

A prisoner transport made of a light material such as aluminum does not necessarily mean it is lighter duty, either. It’s important to understand that you can have heavy-duty light materials and vice versa.

4. Is the insert sanitary and easy to maintain?

One often underestimated cost is the time and labor necessary to upkeep the prisoner inserts. Choosing an insert that’s made with ease of maintenance can make a big difference later on.

Cleanliness plays a role in officer safety – inserts should be easily disinfected and cleaned to cut down on the threat of contamination from bodily fluids or other foreign chemicals. Having a difficult-to-clean interior may not seem like an issue in the beginning, but as more and more prisoners are transported, the advantages will be very evident.

As the need for prisoner transport options grows in the law enforcement and corrections community, many departments are looking to affordable and flexible options.

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