Considerations For Anti-Ligature Systems
Prisons and detention centres have a very specific set of anti-ligature requirements that share similarities with, but also some polar opposites to, mental health care facilities.
The need for anti-ligature products in prison is necessary. Suicide risk is high, with 92 suicides occurring last year, an increase of 31%. Incidents of self-harm which required hospital assistance were also up 4%.
Simultaneously, there was an 18% increase in prisoner-on-prisoner assaults and a 29% increase on attacks on prison staff. The government is spending an extra £70m to improve conditions, but opposition says that new governmental measures risk making matters worse.
A proven means of reducing the risk is to use anti-ligature products in prison environments. Depending on the needs of the prison, shading, privacy and useful day-to-day objects can be installed in cells, yet provide no ligature risk due to the product’s magnetic release brackets.
YewdaleKestrel® is currently used in prisons throughout the country and provide staff with the peace of mind that the prisoner is unable to come to harm through these products.
From curtain tracks, window blinds, towel rails, mirrors, coat hooks, en-suite doors and more, the prison can provide basic equipment for the prisoner to use, but is unable to apply excessive body weight to without it failing.
The products will separate from the magnetic brackets and fall to the floor, rendering all ligature points useless. To reattach, the product is simply offered up to the brackets and it will magnetically connect.
Having magnetic brackets allows the prison staff to remove items from cells if someone is deemed particularly at risk of harming themselves or another person.
By having this modular capability, cells needn’t be of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, which can increase risk, and they negate the need for specific areas being made for specific needs. For example, if someone is at risk of misusing a curtain track, it can simply be removed by prison staff with no additional effort.
Differing slightly from mental health care facilities, consideration needs to be given to anti-ligature items being used as weapons once they have been bought down.
As a result, we provide the YewdaleKestrel® K9500 Flexible Window Curtain Track which is constructed from a specially formulated plastic which is lightweight and strong. It is less of a danger than a heavier item made from metal or similar material. This provides protection to staff and anyone else potentially on the receiving end of someone who wishes to use violence.
Naturally, using anti-ligature products in a cell needs consideration for the other items and layout of the room the products will be used in. The space needs to be created with anti-ligature in mind, to prevent items being wedged or being misused in other places around the room. Ideally, the products should be completely useless if it is detached from the magnetic brackets, and only of use and fulfilling its purpose when attached.