Levels of Security

Which security level you need: terminology

There are a few ‘terminology’ issues to consider when working with detention equipment. These three issues can confuse the end user, specifier and architect and impact on the suitability of the security system being designed.

First, the definition and interpretation of ‘maximum’, ‘medium’ and ‘minimum’ security levels differs vastly among countries, states, jurisdictions and organisations. Common terms used to describe detention and detention equipment include: super maximum, maximum, high, medium, low, minimum, administrative, segregation, institutional, close security, high security, custodial, and heavy duty.

Second, the terminology used by different manufacturers of detention locking devices also differs.

The third issue is that the meaning of the terms has different implications when talking about people (inmate population classifications) compared to talking about a locking system and how it functions.

Access Hardware supplies and recommends Southern Folger. Southern Folger Detention Equipment Co. was formed in 2004 from a merger of Southern Steel (established in 1897) and Folger Adam (established in 1908).


Terminology used by Southern Folger
To understand the terms listed in our Southern Folger and Folger Adam catalogues, it’s important to understand how we use the terms ‘maximum’, ‘medium’ and ‘minimum’ security. The terms have to describe several considerations:
  1. The durability, security and resistance to vandalism of the lock cylinder
  2. The lock’s accessibility to tampering by inmates
  3. The perceived strength of the lock.
Based on these considerations, the following classifications were created:

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  • Locks with paracentric cylinders were listed as maximum security.
  • Locks with mogul cylinders were listed as medium security.
  • Locks with commercial builders cylinders were listed as minimum security.