By Bill Edge
A long-time corrections RTLS client of ours just upgraded their security system—and a whole lot more. The Aaqqigiarvik Correctional Healing Facility in Nunavut, on Baffin Island in Canada’s extreme Northeast, recently went through a significant renovation that included security upgrades, the addition of culturally appropriate design and meaningful layout changes that help in the organization’s mission to shift from punishment to rehabilitation.
The distinct population it serves, its geographic isolation and the climate in Nunavut offered unique challenges in the facility’s upgrade. But ultimately, with safety and security at its center and an overarching transition toward healing—not simply punishment—it’s safe to say the Aaqqigiarvik Correctional Healing Facility is on a positive path that will help shape the discourse of today’s corrections landscape.
Correction Facility Design Matters
Nunavut’s population is more than four-fifths Inuit, and their language, Inuktitut, is one of four widely spoken across the vast territory. One important element of the Correctional Healing Facility’s upgrade was to incorporate signage and room designations exclusively in Inuktitut, reflecting the language spoken by a large portion of the population across the facility. Culturally sensitive and appropriate elements like this help remove the psychological distance between inmate and corrections officer, helping create a power dynamic that is more helpful than punitive in nature.
It’s shown that low levels of natural light, concrete walls and little stimulation—all characteristics of most corrections facilities—can have a serious, negative impact on mental health and wellbeing. The physical environment of most corrections facilities has an impact on the mental health of corrections officers, too (though certainly in varying degrees).
In response to this, the Correctional Healing Facility incorporated much more natural light and open, “campus-like” layouts in common areas. The hope is that the physical environment will support, rather than detract from, healing—helping break the cycle of recidivism.
Correction Facility Security Matters
So, where does Actall come in? In 2021, we helped the facility upgrade its security system from our PALS 9000 system to ATLAS. Our RTLS systems are customized for each facility, and they thrive in complex physical environments like corrections facilities. That translates to the fastest duress alarm elucidation in the business as well as improved tracking, efficiency and safety across facilities.
In addition to RTLS upgrades, the facility also installed brand-new full body scanners to significantly reduce the amount of contraband coming into the facility—contraband that could potentially derail inmate healing progress or cause grave injury or harm to staff and inmates alike.
Security doesn’t just help keep people safe, although that’s a primary benefit. A baseline of security and safety helps inmates forge positive, rather than adversarial, relationships with officers and behavioral health professionals. These positive relationships foster quicker healing and better outcomes, helping to reduce recidivism and set inmates on positive paths.
The world of corrections is changing, and for good reason. Safety and security are still central, but they can be used for healing—not punishment or control. At Actall, we support facilities of all shapes and sizes in their RTLS needs. Learn more about how we help improve safety, tracking and security across multiple sectors.