Improve young offender institutions with Contour Anti-Ligature Radiators

  • 26 Jan 2021

To become an environment that encourages improvements in behaviours, young offender institutions (YOI) must address the actions that are causing extensive strain on the correctional system in the UK today, explain Contour

With problems of smuggling and finding stash points in young offender prisons, radiators and guards must work to avoid becoming stash points.

YOIs see high levels of suicides, bullying and unsafe conditions for prisoners. YOIs and youth establishments have the highest assault rates of any prisons in England and Wales according to

It is clear overall behaviour is a major issue affecting youth offender institutions in the UK – the facilities that you specify could make the difference between a YOI with high levels of suicide and violence, and a facility that promotes rehabilitation and reformation.

Anti-ligature Radiators

As suicide is significantly high in youth offender institutions, all ligature points need to be assessed. 

Many individuals assume that the risk of suicide comes from ligature points from above head-height. Other studies have found suicides can, unfortunately, occur where ligature anchor points have been below the head or even at waist height.

Radiators with large grilles or gaps can be used for self-harm and suicide. Service users are also at risk of self-harming from hot surface temperatures, sharp edges and ligature points on radiators or pipework.

Once radiators have been vandalised, sharp edges can be used to cause harm to individuals or others. This is important, as bullying is prevalent within YOIs.

Therefore, it is important to consider a radiator and a radiator guard that has:

 – Smaller grilles (we recommend IP3X) 
 – Minimal gaps or joints
 – Bullnose, rounded corners
 – No sharp edges

Reducing Stash Points

Traditional radiators can be used as stash points for offenders, with routine cell searches, radiators can be more difficult to check thoroughly.

Contour’s anti-ligature radiator and guard design can assist with the complete and extensive searching of YOI cells.

With its strong, full-casing design and unique range of security fastenings, Custody Officers can safely access all areas of the radiator. 

This includes the radiator’s exterior perimeter, that Officers can safely run their hands along during the routine cell search.

Reports have found that blades for self-harming and bullying can also be found inside young offender institutions along with illegal goods.

Due to the nature of the radiator cover design that Contour manufacture, stashing illegal goods and sharp objects inside the cover will be very difficult. 

However, should Prison Officers feel the need to check inside the cover, they can access the interior casing via the security locks on the front and top of the cover.

Individual Heat Control

On current pipe coil systems, Officers only can control the heat output of four cells at one time, meaning it is impossible to adjust the needs of every individual.

If inmates in a cell each want different heat outputs it can run the risk of aggravating an individual, leading to negative consequences.

Contour’s anti-ligature heating solutions allow Officers to control individual cell temperature, making young offenders comfortable and lessening the potential risk for violent outbursts. 

Depending on the layout of the cell block, the heating can be controlled from outside of the cell. This is of particular use if the cell block is on lock-down and access into the cells are off-limits.

Through aiding comfort, you are helping to establish trust in an inmate which can help rehabilitation.


As an architect or specifier who is tasked with the design or refurbishment of a custodial environment, your design choices will be largely influenced by young offender behaviour.

Contour’s anti-ligature products provide a safe solution for managing the behaviour and wellbeing of young offenders, many of whom who are at risk of suicide.

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

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