Specification and selection of appropriate equipment is the third key to good correctional kitchen design. While some standard institutional equipment can be used in corrections, the details must not inspire exploitation. Handles should be welded on, not screwed. Stainless steel equipment should be specified as 14-gauge heavy-duty steel. Coolers should have bar locks, and walk-in coolers should have an interior escape mechanism. Knives and other implements should be stored on shadow boards in a lockable 14-gauge steel cabinet.
Storage cabinets should have strong locks with hasps, bars, or other secure devices. In many cases it is advisable to have separate locked storage within the storage area for high contraband items like spices, coffee and sugar. Since manufacturers have discovered the correctional market, many new products designed specifically for jails and prisons are now available. There are many new systems on the shelf awaiting the right application.
A word to the wise, however – a thorough evaluation, with a cautious eye, should always be used when evaluating options presented to you from different manufacturers. One quick way to analyze a system or piece of equipment is this: When an explanation of how it works and what benefit it delivers takes longer than a minute, ask if the system is too complex or too fragile for inmate use and probable abuse. When you build and renovate a kitchen, remember the KISS dictum: keep it simple and strong.