Dissimilar to a prison cell, which is constructed with stainless steel and cement to house individuals convicted of a crime, a padded cell is typically found in mental institutions. Padded cells are small, enclosed rooms, which possess cushions that line the walls. The cell padding is instituted so that the mentally unstable don’t attempt to inflict pain on themselves.
Often times the patients who stay in a padded cell are suicidal or simply out of touch with reality–characteristics that would precipitate self-mutilation. The pads prevent patients from inflicting harm on themselves; if the rooms lacked cell padding an individual can bang his/her head against the cement wall causing great damage and perhaps even death.
A padded cell, which is often times referred to as a ‘rubber room’ are typically 8 feet by 10 feet. In addition to the walls being padded, the floor is also covered in a 4-inch deep padding to further prevent the individual from inflicting pain on him/herself. The cell padding on the walls is commonly made of strong canvas, which is then covered in a rubbery substance or paint.
The canvas is not one giant slab, but rather small patches, joined together to create a soft padding. The floors of a padded cell are usually covered in leather or cork crumbs. Unlike a prison cell door which is composed of stainless steel bars, the door to a padded cell is made of strong wood and only contains a small window for observational purposed. On the inside of the padded cell, the door is coated in thick padding backed by a rubber oval shape. The cell padding is a distinct feature of a padded cell, and is essential to protect the mentally unstable from harming themselves.