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Contour Anti-Ligature Ventilation Grilles for Young Offender Institutions

  • 22 Jan 2021

It is important anti-ligature ventilation grilles closely align with the requirements set out by the Ministry Of Justice in providing safe, secure Young Offender Institution cells, explains Contour…

For young offender institutions, it is vital to maintain a high-secure grille design to promote airflow, whilst reducing any potential ligature points that are apparent in standard grille designs.

Anti-Ligature Ventilation Grille Design

Within YOIs, there is a potential risk of suicide, self-harm, and bullying. With ventilation grilles often being positioned on ceilings or high walls, they present an easy opportunity for strangulation through suspended hanging.

Clearly, some problems need to be addressed in both the psychiatric support provided to offenders and the possibilities given to offenders when inflicting harm on themselves or others.

Potential Risks with Standard Grilles

Standard grille designs pose ligature risks which can result in harmful consequences for offenders due to the ease of ligature access.

This is by having large enough gaps that allow offenders to tie something in between the grilles. Ventilation grilles with standard grilles are simply too harmful to be placed in YOI cells, where levels of suicide are extremely high.

Danger Of Improvised Weapons

YOIs and youth establishments have the highest assault rates of any prisons in England and Wales according to

With high suicide levels and bullying within YOI’s, articles have discovered that anti-ligature ventilation grilles can be used as improvised weapons.

Improvised weapons are becoming a common issue in these environments. These weapons are generally made by destructing and altering objects and furniture into something sharp-with the intent of using it to cause harm.

Anti-ligature ventilation grilles can become objects that are used to create improvised weapons. This risk further concludes that a strong and secure ventilation grille is essential.

When you consider the many ventilation grilles on the market are made from plastic, specifiers should be aware of the risks linked with weak materials in YOI cells, from not only a cost perspective-but to reduce the risk of improvised weapons causing harm.

Contour’s Anti-Ligature Ventilation Grille

Contour’s anti-ligature ventilation grille is manufactured from 1.5mm Zintec Steel, providing a robust solution against improvised weapons.

If needed, this can be changed to 1.5mm Magnelis, which is suitable for wet environments, making them appropriate for young offender institutions.

Security Fixings For Authorised Access

For cleaning and maintenance, specifiers should opt for an anti-ligature ventilation grille that provides a secure surrounding, allowing for authorised access only.

This will provide essential tamper-proof protection to reduce risks of improvised weapons and ligature risks.

It also ensures that cleaning and maintenance can be optimised to provide a hygienic solution for offenders.

Reducing Stash Points

With high suicide rates and bullying in YOI’s, articles have found that anti-ligature ventilation grilles can be used as stash points for weapons or blades. Stash points also can be used to smuggle illegal goods.

Cell searches are characterised by two basic types. One type is by a routine cell search and the other is with a routine-plus cell search:

 – a Routine search is a a rub-down search and a cell search, with a metal detector
 – a Routine-plus search is a full body search and may also involve a property record check, in addition to a cell search.

Despite the level of search that takes place, contraband such as drugs and mobile phones continue to be an area of concern in YOI environments in the UK.

To ensure stash points are minimised, it is important to utilise a small ventilation grille to make it difficult for offenders to stash contraband within the ventilation system.

Optimising Hygiene

When offenders ‘dirty protest’ or willingly choose to urinate or defecate without the use of appropriate facilities, it can pose a significant health risk to others who are subjected to it.

Tuberculosis, HIV, and Hepatitis C are just some of the risks to YOI staff and other offenders during a dirty protest where bodily fluids, including blood and faeces, are smeared across cell walls or even communal areas.

It is therefore essential that appropriate cleaning practices are carried out safely and effectively.

Contour’s anti-ligature ventilation grilles incorporate BioCote® anti-microbial protection in the manufacturing process.

This unique, patented additive provides an effective, safe and long-lasting solution to combatting a wide range of dangerous bacteria, including MRSA and E. coli.

BioCote® products have been tested against a wide range of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, as well as fungi. 

BioCote® has been proven to hinder the growth of these organisms, thus providing hygienic practice.

Click here to see a list of some of the notable microbes BioCote® technology has been proven effective against.

With BioCote®, the contamination of equipment, furniture, and fixings due to dirty protests, is diminished.


An anti-ligature ventilation grille is an ideal solution for specifiers aiming to promote safe and hygienic practice in YOIs.

Contour’s anti-ligature ventilation grilles are fixed with a T25 bolt. This can only be opened using a specialist drill bit, and only available to authorised personnel, providing essential tamper-proof protection.

Anti-ligature grilles ensure that the suicide risks are reduced and that stash points are minimised. For optimal cleaning and maintenance BioCote® provides an ultimate solution.  

Key characteristics that specifiers should look out for when identifying appropriate ventilation grilles for YOIs are, being strong and robust to minimise improvised weapons and grilles that are anti-ligature to decrease suicide rates.

Contour can be contacted at;
The Mansions
43 Broadway
TF11 8BB
Tel: 01952 290 498
Email: [email protected]

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