When picking out a designer grade table for your home’s dining room, you probably will base your decision largely upon the table top and how it fits in with the room’s design. After all, that is the most visible part of the table and the one that is inflicted with most of the spills, scratches and other mishaps.
However, inside intensive-use environments like correctional facilities, each and every element of a table plays an equally important role in keeping both inmates and staff safe from potential hazards – particularly inmate violence. Table tops are an important consideration in these facilities, too, as is the material used to fabricate the table, the nuts and bolts used to assemble it, the quality of the welding and the table’s base.
Below, we outline the benefits of four table base categories – fixed seating, x-base, cylinder, and legs –that are commonly found in intensive-use facilities. We also explain how each differs depending upon its design and intended function.
Fixed seating bases – found on the Norix Max-Master table above – are an efficient choice for correctional facilities. The seats are mounted to the legs which can be mounted to the floor, creating a fusion that provides an interconnected seating and table unit with a solid, multi-leg foot print that can’t be rocked back and forth like a pedestal table. This also prevents the seating or the table from being picked up and used as a weapon. Additionally, tables like our Max-Master come equipped with base tubing that is 3 inches in diameter and made of 14 gauge steel – providing extreme safety and structural integrity.
Tables like the Norix Madera™ X-Base (right) are designed specifically to prevent the transfer of contraband – weapons, drugs, and even cell phones – from one inmate to another. Since the base is solid and constructed with no openings, inmates have to transfer the contraband around the x-base, making this action more visible to the staff who are monitoring for contraband transfers. Lastly, the “x” design of this base also makes tables heavier, tip-over resistant and more stable than your normal residential or commercial table.
Cylinder bases (featured on the Norix Jupiter table, right) also offer a solution to inmate violence. These bases can be ballasted with sand or other materials that make the table heavier. This prevents inmates from picking up the table and using it as a weapon against other inmates and staff members. The extra weight in the base also makes the table more stable and harder to move out of its appropriate place. In addition, cylinder bases provide a flexible alternative to bolted-down tables in cases where a facility requires a change in table arrangements.
Legs are the most traditional bases found on tables and can work well in appropriate areas of correctional facilities such as food service and staffing areas. Tables with leg bases generally are the most inexpensive option and, in the case of Norix’s Madera table (right), can be anchored to the floor and made resistant to movement. Also, our Madera legs are made of 14 gauge steel tubing and come in either a 4 inch or 2.5 inch width – the former giving facilities the extra girth needed in areas where heavy duty furniture is needed, while the latter providing a more residential look and feel.
Have you had experience with any of these bases in a correctional facility? Tell us your story by leaving a comment in the space below.
Dustin Coleman is a brand journalist for Norix Furniture and a contributor to the Safe Environments blog.