Stopping Prisons Facilities from Falling Apart

Oct 21, 2011

Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith

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According to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) there are currently over 218,000 inmates. Of this prison population approximately 82 percent are confined in (BOP) operated facilities. This makes the average inmate population to be about 1,527 per prison facility.

The Federal Prison System

Federal Prison System Map

The staffing of federal prison facilities takes more than 38,000 BOPemployees or about 1 employee per 6 inmates. Prison facilities are operated in 38 States and managed through 6 regional offices.

Prison Asset and Maintenance Management Challenges

The size and scope of the federal prison system makes prison facility management a true challenge even with the best CMMS system. Some of the most notable issues in managing prison assets and performing maintenance include:

7 Prison Asset and Maintenance Challenges

  1. Budget reductions and constraints: The federal government is in the same financial crisis as everyone else. The lack of funding for new capital projects (major repairs, replacements and refurbishments) has meant that asset managers must find a way to lengthen the useful lifecycle of assets.
  2. The aging of prison assets: As prison assets age they require more maintenance to stay operational. This translates to higher maintenance and repair expenses. The cost of normal maintenance and repair is increasing as a result of the current budget crisis as well as historically poor maintenance planning.
  3. Controlling labor costs: The second of the major operating expenses is labor cost. These can be broken into two distinct categories of BOP staff and inmate work management.
    • Work management for BOP staff: BOP work management includes the facility maintenance activity of any BOPstaff. Tasks generally include items such as preventive maintenance, inspections, repairs and rounds.
    • Work Management for inmate population: Since inmates are required to work while incarcerated their activity must also be scheduled in order to be effective and efficient.
     “Sentenced inmates are required to work if they are medically able. Institution work assignments include employment in areas like food service or the warehouse, or work as an inmate orderly, plumber, painter, or groundskeeper.”Source: BOP
  4. Controlling energy costs: Energy costs represent the third largest component of MRO expenses. Every energy consuming asset such as HVAC units to chillers, boilers and water systems need to be maintained properly. Good maintenance practices increase energy efficiency as well maintained assets require less power to achieve the same output.
  5. Document and vendor management: Document storage and handling are a significant cost to any organization including prisons.

“A typical employee spends 30% – 40% of his time looking for information locked in e-mail, documents, shared hard disks and filing cabinets.”

Source: AIIM, Forrester, Star Securities, US Department of Labor

  1. Vendor and Contract Management: The Federal Government has very detailed contracts with vendors. What may be managed at a local prison level may be a nightmare to regional or national oversight. Managing vendors and contracts well can lead to greater vendor accountability as well as contract consolidation stemming from duplicate or redundant vendor use.
  2. System Administration and Security: Too often management of EAM CMMS or manual systems is a forgotten cost. Every asset and maintenance management system needs to have the tools to be administered effectively. Good administration includes keeping site management at management fingertips, defining security roles and controlling access through mobile devices.
How an EAM CMMS Would Impact Federal Prisons
Federal Prison Asset Management

If we take a look at the 7 prison asset and maintenance challenges above the obvious solution is for prison asset managers to implement an software system capable of making maintenance management more cost effective AND can handle enterprise level (multiple prisons) asset management. One such tool for accomplishing this is an EAMCMMSsystem.

EAM CMMS features includes tools that modernize the way prison work management is conducted as well as tools for managing an asset’s lifecycle from the planning stage through asset retirement. Each of the previous asset and maintenance management issues listed above can be addressed by an EAM CMMS using its features to:

  • Collect all asset detail including but not limited to asset descriptions, location, age, serial number, part number, color, cost, vendor and documents (blueprints, contracts, photos etc.). Documents are scanned and linked to the associated asset.
  • Organize assets using asset trees and templates to be used for easy retrieval plus set desired assets up on proactive maintenance schedules. As a general rule of thumb, best maintenance practices have a target of 80% planned maintenance for all work to be done. Proactive maintenance such as preventive maintenance, inspections and rounds will keep assets running in optimal condition lowering energy costs, reducing labor expenses and reducing the frequency of repairs (planned and unplanned).
  • Eliminate unnecessary paper work by automating many of the work management processes including work requests and work orders. Automating work management results in faster response times, lower labor costs and more accurate asset information that can be reviewed by asset and maintenance managers.
  • Track work management results. This is one of the most important EAM CMMS features because as each work management task is completed the results are added to the asset’s record. Management reports can then be produced that will identify maintenance trends, potential problems, maintenance needs, bottlenecks in the system or establish standard operating procedures. More importantly, the EAM CMMS reports will enable better repair, refurbish or replacement
    prison maintenance decisions and create more accurate capital budgets.

In summary, an EAM CMMS software solution is ideal for Federal prison asset and maintenance management. In fact, an EAMCMMS system is well suited for any State or Local prison facility. Implementing better asset and maintenance management saves money both today and tomorrow.

Tell us how you think prison assets can be managed better. If you liked this article you may also want to read:

Stuart Smith

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