Humanizing the Corrections Facility with Adaptive Furnishings

By CN Staff

As the saying goes, there’s no place like home. But for those incarcerated in correctional facilities traditional furnishings can be spare and institutional—definitely not homelike. There is a growing trend in corrections that believes intuitional environments don’t have to feel institutional, and probably shouldn’t. By moving to a more normative model, corrections facilities may be able to improve outcomes and reduce recidivism.

Norix developed its new Prodigy series to ease burdens on staff while serving special needs populations. Prodigy features the latest in Norix innovations in an uncompromising line of high performing, aesthetically pleasing and safe corrections furniture. It is designed and engineered to overcome the daunting challenge of creating a humanized environment without sacrificing safety, security and long-term performance. Prodigy is at the vanguard of innovation and advances the Norix legacy of spearheading breakthroughs in intensive use furniture.

“When we designed the Prodigy collection, we created a set of furnishings that could help create a therapeutic environment in challenging conditions,” remarked Brad Karl, Norix Director of Marketing. “We believe that secure, aesthetically pleasing furniture is conducive to positive mindsets and can make residents more receptive to personal improvement before returning to society.”

The Prodigy collection, introduced in 2021, features humane and progressive design with improved durability and safety. It includes a bed, nightstand, chest, wardrobe and desk, available in two wood-like Tru-Grain™ finishes. Each piece is engineered in specially formulated polymer, providing unprecedented durability, cleanability and reducing the risk of self-harm.

“Prodigy offers the look and feel of familiar bedroom furniture, which can have a positive impact on people experiencing stress,” said Karl. “Through the creation of normalized environments, institutions may be able to aid the journey to rehabilitation.”

Studies have shown that many people in the corrections system experience trauma. Research published in 2017 by the US Department of Justice found that nearly half of incarcerated people were currently experiencing serious psychological distress or had a history of mental health issues. Prodigy is particularly well suited to these special needs populations.

Improving the aesthetics of a corrections facility can also impact those who work in that environment, which in turn can increase job satisfaction among employees.

“Those who work in corrections facilities spend a good portion of their daily lives at work, affected by their surroundings,” Karl continued. “Professionals that support the day-to-day operations of a corrections facility can benefit from small improvements that ‘warm up’ austere or plain workplace surroundings. And overall, it can positively impact retention and recruiting for staff and reduce burnout.”

Consciously designing spaces that are more human-focused and comforting is a relatively recent trend in American corrections. Warm and natural light, color and home-like furnishings are increasingly incorporated into correctional environments, creating a more residential campus aesthetic to reduce institutional overtones. The Prodigy collection of furnishings also are recyclable, which may help agencies make progress toward their environmental goals.

“Prodigy’s appeal doesn’t lie exclusively with its aesthetic design,” explained Karl. “We know our furnishings need to be safe and secure. Because material safety is paramount, Prodigy is made with the warmth of wood but the performance of polymer. It avoids sharp edges and corners and is contraband resistant. And while its wood-like grain striations add visual appeal, it’s also simple to sanitize.”

The Prodigy collection offers top-tier safety and security attributes, including concealed hardware for floor and wall anchoring, tamper-resistant design, ligature resistance and inset panels for flush mounting. Each piece is impact-resistant and static load tests range as high as 1,500 pounds.

“We wanted to create furnishings that support a challenging environment with both safety and appealing design,” added Karl. “With the Prodigy collection, that vision has been realized.”

For more information about the Prodigy line of furnishings for corrections and behavioral health, visit

Editor’s Note: This feature initially appeared in the March/April 2022 issue of Correctional News.