Prison settings present a unique set of challenges when it comes to preventing and controlling the spread of transmissible infections. Living close together, crowded conditions, poor sanitation and ventilation, and being without quality health care makes prisons prime grounds for spreading infectious diseases. Prisoners are also among the most vulnerable in our society. These same restrictions that are intended to protect people in prison can cause additional problems, with, for example, the stopping of prison visits during Covid-19 contributing to prison riots, disturbances and an exacerbation of mental health issues.
Covid-19 in Prisons
In Australia, prison authorities were battling to contain multiple Covid outbreaks—as was the case elsewhere in the world until vaccinations were introduced. Most of us got used to Covid-19 day-to-day restrictions on activities and an increase in the spread of restrictions internationally, including travel bans, school closures, and the implementation of remote working hours that were implemented off-and-on for around 2 years.
However, in prisons, it was more complicated because prisoners could be at greater risk of developing severe COVID-19 due to their many social risk factors (eg a higher percentage of males and those who are older) as well as other considerations, such as:
- Prisons and other custodial facilities could be risky environments for outbreaks of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
- Since prisons are generally porous environments, it is easier for infections and epidemics to spread to the communities surrounding them.
- People in prison can be more at risk of more serious Covid-19 complications because of pre-existing health conditions.
- Pre-existing structural determinants of health—have been exacerbated during the pandemic. Thus, people from poor areas and racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequalities (for example, lack of access to healthcare, higher rates of public transport use, living in multi-household accommodation)—have suffered a disproportionate incidence of Covid-19 associated with severe illness and greater mortality rates.
- Finally, challenges to controlling infections may be compounded by poor prison medical services and the prioritisation of security over health needs.
- Overcrowding and a lack of space are not conducive to social distancing or isolation measures.
Infection Control Guidelines for Prisons
As well as standard precautions, such as hand hygiene, mask protection and use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), the Communicable Diseases Network Australia’s (CDNA) guidelines for prisons and detention facilities include regular scheduled cleaning and disinfection of all inmate areas—especially during an outbreak. But, even in prison hospitals or isolation units ensuring thorough disinfection is time-consuming, and if it is done manually there is no guarantee that every surface in a room will be disinfected.
This is where NocoSpray comes in. It is a portable disinfection system that consists of an appliance and a disinfectant (NocoLyse). Simply place it in the centre of a room vacated of people and animals. Select the cycle and press start.
The appliance heats the disinfectant, producing a dry vapour that is diffused into the atmosphere, causing harmful pathogens to self-destruct, whether in the air or on surfaces. It can be used in enclosed spaces up to 1000 m3, or several can be run simultaneously in larger rooms—or the NocoMax can be used for much bigger areas up to 20,000 m3.
Why NocoSpray Is Recommended for Prisons
- NocoSpray is effective against a wide range of harmful micro-organisms, including bacteria, viruses, yeasts, fungus and spores. On contact, it forces a chemical reaction in pathogens responsible for Covid-19, flu, gastro-intestinal viruses, C-difficile, causing them to self-destruct.
- It is TGA-approved for Covid-19.
- It is composed of hydrogen peroxide, silver and distilled water, which biodegrades to oxygen within minutes.
- The fine vapour is dry—and surfaces do not need wiping down afterwards.
- Rooms are ready to be occupied within minutes of the NocoSpray cycle finishing.
- Safe to use in rooms frequented by children, vulnerable adults and animals.
- Does not harm electrics, furniture or equipment.
- Disinfects all the surfaces in a room (even hard to reach), as well as the air (and the insides of drawers and cabinets if they are left open).
Further Information about Infection Control in Prisons
NocoSpray is effective for the control of infection in prisons and detention centres because it is easy to use and kills a broad range of pathogens without any harmful effects on people, animals, the environment or equipment.
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is about the importance of infection control and mitigating the spread of disease. Prisons are high-risk environments for the spread of infectious diseases and by reducing the level of pathogens, we can help to ensure the safety of both inmates, prison staff and visitors. For more information on how NocoSpray helps to keep prisons clean and safe, contact us today.