Padded cells, otherwise known as padded rooms or calming rooms, are often used in various contexts, including a variety of mental health facilities, correctional institutions, and, in some cases, by police departments. While the use of padded cells by police may vary across jurisdictions, there are potential benefits associated with their utilization. Given the role of policing in our communities, it should come as no surprise that they often will require a safe, confined holding space for those under arrest or awaiting trial.

With safety of both the officers and inmates of chief concern for most departments, many are turning to the use of padding cells and calming rooms. Offering a safe space where inmates, perpetrators or suspects can calm themselves without the risk of harm is something nearly every police department in the country is now developing.

The following are three main reasons why police departments are turning to padded spaces and how they are best used to serve those placed in their care.

Risk Mitigation

These padded spaces are designed with soft and durable materials to minimize the risk of injury to individuals who may be a danger to themselves or others. This is particularly relevant in situations where individuals are in a state of extreme agitation, distress, or are experiencing a mental health crisis. Placing someone in a padded cell can help prevent self-harm or injuries resulting from violent behavior.


In the context of law enforcement, padded cells can serve as a helpful de-escalation tool. The calming environment of a padded cell, combined with reduced sensory stimuli, has been proven to help individuals regain control over their emotions and reduce the likelihood of aggressive behavior. This can provide law enforcement officers with a safe and controlled space to manage situations without resorting to more forceful measures.

Temporary Holding for Assessment

These rooms and spaces are also often used as a temporary holding space for individuals who need to be assessed by mental health professionals. This allows time for a thorough evaluation of the individual’s mental state before determining the most appropriate course of action, which may include referral to mental health services or other forms of intervention.

Despite some controversy, these padded spaces have been proven to be effective when used as prescribed. With padded rooms and sensory spaces found everywhere from schools to mental health facilities, they too have a place in correctional facilities. More police departments, court houses and other correctional facilities are leaning on these safe and calming spaces than ever before. Providing a calm and de-escalating environment, the utilization of these types of padded spaces goes a long way in keeping both officers and inmates safe. If you have a space you think might be a fit, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of our team for a complete assessment and no-obligation quote.