Minimising Stash Points Within A Young Offender Institution

The smuggling of drugs, mobile phones and weapons is a common area for concern for young offender institutions.

It’s essential for specifiers to source products that reduce the potential of offenders to disguising items within their cells.

This blog will look into ways that anti-ligature guards, ventilation grilles and pipe boxing solutions are effective in minimising stash points. Read on to find out more…


Cell Searching In Young Offender Institutions

With high suicide rates and bullying in YOI’s, articles have found that radiators 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 level- 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.

It’s not uncommon for a conventional cell design to have exposed pipework running along the perimeter of the cell. This causes a variety of opportunities for offenders to stash drugs, phones, and other contraband.


The Architecture Of Current UK Young Offender Institutions

It has been found that young offender institutions can be often unsafe environments, YOIs and juvenile establishments have the highest assault rates of any prisons in England and Wales.

It is not uncommon for YOI’s to be built pre-twentieth-century; therefore, you’ll often uncover exposed pipework and outdated standard panel radiators. This will cause a variety of risks for both inmates and officers.

These risks include, radiators becoming ligature risks for inmates and vandalised radiators being picked at for sharp weapons to self-inflicted harm and injury to others.

Keeping in mind that suicide and bullying rates are high in these environments, these sorts of problems are not ones to ignore.


Reducing Stash Points With Pipe Boxing

As previously mentioned, it’s not surprising for there to be exposed pipework within YOI cells, making it easy for offenders to disguise contraband behind a pipe system.

With Contour’s pipe boxing, the exposed pipework is fully encapsulated by a 2mm Zintec steel casing, making it highly effective at deterring offenders from stashing contraband around the pipework.


Reducing Stash Points With Anti-Ligature Features

Anti-ligature solutions are frequently specified in areas where there’s a potential for suicide and self-harm. An example of this would be inside a ‘safer cell’.

However, the anti-ligature radiator and guard’s full casing and 2mm grille design ensure that they’re the ideal deterrent for the cover-up of contraband, making it highly unlikely for offenders to hide items inside the casing of the radiator or cover.

Along with Contour’s easy-access locking system, routine checks can be carried out safely and thoroughly in the unlikely event of an item being placed inside the casing’s interior.



Through the appropriate specification of heating and ventilation solutions within YOI cells, you can reduce occurrences of hidden contraband, helping to promote a safe and custodial environment.

For more information on how Contour’s products can provide effective heating and ventilation grilles for your young offender institution project, get in touch with one of our experts today.

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About Us

Contour produces a range of innovative, safe surface temperature systems for healthcare, education, mental health, commercial and secure sectors, working in close partnership and collaborating with architects, M&E engineers, NHS Trusts, local authorities and contractors to deliver outstanding safe heating solutions.

Contour is the exclusive partner of BioCote® anti-microbial technology for LST and anti-ligature radiators.  BioCote® additives reduce bacteria by up to 99.9%. Contour combines an extensive range of colour-paints is with BioCote® for a durable, high-quality finish.

Contour’s heating solutions offer secure, single-person quick access to radiator guard interiors for regular deep cleaning and maintenance.  Each year, Contour save the NHS millions of pounds in cleaning costs, therefore delivering cleaner, safer environments.  Contour is redefining the marketplace and therefore many regards us as a design and innovation leader within the industry.

Contour has a quality-first philosophy. Our customer-focused team possess a ‘can-do’ attitude, they take pride in developing solutions for your heating requirements.

Contact us at:

The Mansions, 43 Broadway Shifnal

Shropshire TF11 8BB United Kingdom

+44 1952 290 498

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Topics: Anti-ligature