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Abstract

The management of records is an important function in correctional facilities as it improves accountability, safety, security and accessibility of records pertaining to offenders and the various programmes provided. The inadequate management of records however is a wide spread issue in most South African correctional facilities, as evidenced by maladministration and the loss of important offender records. This study was conducted to ascertain the records management practices of two correctional facilities in South Africa in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The research was conducted at Qalakabusha and Westville correctional facilities with the purpose of finding out the types of records kept, the information system used for records management, the policies, procedures and guidelines governing records management, as well as the challenges hindering the effective management of records. The overall findings of the study suggest that records management is yet to be prioritized at Qalakabusha and Westville correctional facilities, and this can be evidenced by the absence of records management policies, procedures and guidelines, lack of qualified personnel and proper training. The study also found that records are frequently lost or misplaced, despite the fact that both correctional facilities have an information system for managing records. The outcomes of this study can be used as a basis for future records management studies in correctional facilities. Moreover, the Department of Correctional Services can use these findings to improve records management practices across different correctional facilities in South Africa.

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