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Courtyards and external spaces provide service users with opportunities for outdoor exercise, which helps reduce violent tendencies and improves mental well-being. These areas play a crucial role in promoting physical activity and offering a therapeutic environment for service users, contributing to overall prison safety and rehabilitation efforts.

External custodial lighting can be fully exposed to the elements, making high IP rated luminaires essential. It is therefore particularly important that lighting is especially robust and requires little in the way of maintenance. To ensure longevity, and to minimise costs, the paint finishes of luminaires should be highly resistant to degradation.

Outdoor spaces pose a unique security challenge to correctional facilities. The perimeter walls have to ensure that prisoners stay inside their designated areas and stop “contraband” coming in. With this in mind, various standards dictate specific lighting levels, see technical support.

LEDs with specifically designed optics can vastly reduce energy usage as, for example, lighting with discharge lamps in a floodlight can be very inefficient.

The lighting should provide basic levels of visibility. Ideally, luminaires should be positioned over and between parked cars to eliminate potential hiding places. As with any exterior lighting installation, it is important to minimise upward and spill light to prevent light pollution and to ensure it does not cause a nuisance to neighbours.

Technical Support

Different standards may be referenced dependent on the precise nature of the approach to the building. These include BS EN 12464-2:2014 for general outdoor areas including car park spaces. The Estates Directorate Technical Standard STD/E/SPEC/018 provides specific guidance for external lighting within a prison’s perimeter fencing, which varies dependent on the category of the prison (A-D).

For further lighting advice speak to our technical sales team on 020 8254 2022 or e-mail


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