Lights, Cameras, Detention Benches

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — When one thinks of movie props, items like the Maltese Falcon or Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber come to mind — not detention benches.

With the relative uptick in binge-worthy prison-themed shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “Prison Break” to name just a couple on Netflix, props and set decor that evoke the look and feel of correctional facilities are becoming must-have items for movie prop rental houses. This is why Bethlehem-based Brey-Krause Manufacturing Company recently contracted to produce detention benches for the screen — whether it be a mobile device or ye olde silver one.

Manufacturer of a range of products since 1909, Brey-Krause only recently began fabricating its line of detention benches in 2015. Though the genesis of the detention bench is lost to correctional history, the basic design remains the same across manufacturers. There is a plank upon which an inmate sits, and there is a handcuff bar at seat level to secure them there. Some benches feature welded loops for cuffing purposes, but more contemporary models, including those made by Brey-Krause, use a bar.

“We actually just started a contract with a prop rental company who wanted to buy some of our benches to put in movies, which we thought was pretty cool,” said Marketing Director Jillian Hurlebaus. “It started because of one custom item request from a customer that went really well, and we thought, why not add this to our Anti-Ligature/Detention/Correctional Product Line?”

The benches are built-to-order and fabricated from 12-gauge, 304-grade,100 percent stainless steel and boast a brushed satin finish. The handcuff bars are fully welded to the bench and the edges are rounded and smooth with no sharp corners that a detainee could use to harm themselves. The company has shipped benches throughout the U.S., including Hawaii.

“Not only do we sell them to a lot of prisons and police departments, we also sell to correctional facilities, hospitals, resorts and casinos, fire departments, and construction companies,” said Hurlebaus. “Besides acting in movies, our benches are pretty impressive. We actually just expanded our line.”

Besides their standard 72-inch model, Brey-Krause now offers iterations in 20-inch, 48-inch and 60-inch varieties, with or without the handcuff bar.