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Transport Prisoners

Outfitting a van to handle prisoner transport is a great investment. Not only can you move up to 12 people at a time, but you can also use the van to patrol or to move big items like barricades, cones, bikes, or large evidence. It becomes part of your daily on-street fleet.


Click on any of the below for more information on prisoner van transports, or review the Havis Guide to Selecting a Prisoner Transport.

  • What Van Do I Need?
  • Versatile Compartments
  • Specify "Slam Locks"
  • Side/Rear Step Options
  • Materials & Finish
  • Cleanliness Matters
  • Emergency Exits
  • Easy Installation
  • Video Camera Options
  • Safe Seating
  • Compartment Ventilation
  • Transferable Units

What Van Do I Need?

Havis Kwik-Kit® prisoner transport units are designed for installation in a standard cargo van. We recommend buying the heaviest gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) possible. Vans with a 1 ton rating work best. Vans with a 3/4 ton rating also work well depending on the type of daily usage. Havis can provide you with a specification to identify the proper van for your purpose.

What Van Do I Need?

Versatile Compartments

Make sure your vendor offers a wide range of compartment sizes and configurations. For instance, Havis offers compartment lengths ranging from 60" to 120", which can accommodate from 6 to 12 prisoners. And our compartments come in a variety of configurations, from standard "rectangles" to "modified L-shapes" to single-person "boxes."

Havis can offer you up to 4 compartments installed in a single van. Plus, you can boost your van's usefulness by choosing an interior layout that offers lots of space to haul equipment. Cross-purposing your van really stretches your investment dollar.

Versatile Compartments

Specify "Slam Locks"

When moving prisoners, "quick and simple" is the way to go. Havis offers the dual, heavy-duty "slam lock" on its transport doors. They work just like they sound. All you have to do is slam the door shut. The lock automatically engages and secures the compartment. Havis has been using the dual slam-latch system since 2004 with excellent results.

Specify "Slam Locks"

Side/Rear Step Options

Getting detainees safely in and out of the van is important. Kits come standard with a 10" x 48" rear step plus a 10" x 30" side slide-out step for units with side compartments. We also offer an optional flip-down, second step to add to the standard rear step. It is very helpful when transporting prisoners in leg shackles.

Side/Rear Step Options

Materials & Finish

The containment unit used in these vans must combine strength, durability and lighter weight in order to achieve minimum stress on the van chassis. Avoid extra heavy materials (e.g. steel) which, when combined with the weight of the people being transported, could cause the vehicle to exceed its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Exceeding GVWR stresses your van's brakes and lowers gas mileage. Also, select a unit with a powder coat finish which allows for thorough cleaning. Unfinished aluminum will absorb dirt and fluids and painted steel is prone to rust.

Instead, look for units like Havis' Kwik-Kit brand prisoner transport units. They are fabricated primarily from 1/8" (.125") aluminum sheets that have a formed channel framework and are welded at critical joints. Plus, Havis uses a white powder coat finish to protect your unit and enable it to be thoroughly and easily cleaned.

Cleanliness Matters

You want a unit that is easily disinfected and washed out. In addition to the effectiveness of the white powder coat we apply to our units. When properly installed, our compartment's seams are sealed so water and debris generated during cleaning cannot hide and turn foul without you knowing its source. And, with the Havis Kwik-Kit prisoner transport unit, you can use a standard bleach and water solution to disinfect. Cleanliness made easy.

Cleanliness Matters

Emergency Exits

If you do find yourself in an emergency situation, you need to be able to remove your prisoners fast. Federal motor vehicle requirements state that the mandatory escape hatches need to open with ease.

The Havis Kwik-Kit provides you with emergency exit hatches for every compartment that have:

  • Quick-release slide bolts
  • Gasket seal
  • Perforated center section for viewing prisoners
  • Clear Lexan polycarbonate cover over the perforated view section to protect officers
  • Sealed edges to prevent the penetration of fluids
  • Minimized rattling for quieter driving

Easy Installation

You have 2 installation options. If you have your own install facility, you can do it yourself with our step-by-step instructions. Or, Havis has resellers around the country that can do the installation for you.

Havis Kwik-Kit prisoner transport units ship to you fully assembled. We find this assures all parts are included in your order and that they all fit together. Also, you get to see the unit fully assembled, so you know what it will look like when installed. (Some parts will need to be unassembled and reassembled for installation.)

It takes anywhere from 10 hours to 26 hours to complete an installation, plus time for any optional equipment. It all depends on the size and design of the unit and the options you have chosen. Rest assured that Havis offers a technical support phone line in case you need assistance.

Video Camera Options

Depending on your need, you may want to install video camera(s) in the compartments. If so, you'll need a fully equipped viewing and video recording solution. Havis can provide up to 4 cameras, including one mounted on the rear exterior roof to monitor your access doors and provide a "safety" view when backing up. The video system comes with a cab-mounted monitor offering a quad view and an optional mobile digital video recorder. Make sure you get a robust mounting solution for these key components (a Havis specialty).

Video Camera Options

Safe Seating

While keeping officers safe is of paramount importance, you will want to keep your detainees safe during transport. As you evaluate your seating options in prisoner transport, keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Go with a bench seat that has a rubberized, non-slip strip of material on it. This helps riders stay seated. Avoid "sandpaper" non-slip material as it can scrape knuckles and hands during transport.
  • Choose side-facing benches with grab straps located at each seat location. These can be grabbed by prisoners during transport when handcuffed behind the back.
  • Avoid seat padding -- it can be easily damaged, which adds to maintenance and replacement costs. Plus, permanently mounted pads create more locations for hiding contraband and are very difficult to keep clean.
  • Consider installing Havis' optional small dividers made of the same material as the body of the compartment, which are installed every 18" to 20" on the bench seat. They give prisoners something to brace against during transport and also help keep them "in their own seats" during transport. Havis is unique in making these available.

Compartment Ventilation

We offer optional electric ventilation fans which help increase airflow. The optional fans draw air through the compartment, creating a positive air flow. This will prevent foul odors from building up in the vehicle.

We do not recommend systems that blow air from the driver's compartment into the rear compartments. This method has proven to be inadequate and, for a few extra dollars, you can get a system that does the job without making the driver uncomfortable.

Compartment Ventilation

Transferable Units

A well-built transport unit (such as a Havis unit) will last much longer than a vehicle will. After the useful life of the van has passed, you want to be able to move the prisoner transport to a new vehicle. With a Havis Kwik-Kit prisoner transport unit, this is not a problem. Remember, Havis units are not welded into your van; they are bolted. Even if you switch the manufacturer of your van (e.g. from Chevy to Ford), you can install your existing Havis Kwik-Kit unit. Just contact us for some conversion parts and instructions. If the make and model are the same in the new unit, you can usually just move it from van A to van B without additional parts.

Transferable Units

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