n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Wireless technology for management of behaviour in correctional facilities

Special Edition 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The aim of this article is to explore the application of wireless technology in the management of inmates and wardens in correctional facilities. It commences with a discussion of current monitoring technologies that are used in correctional facilities. A newcomer to this field, namely Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is introduced as a technology that can improve current monitoring technologies. Even though RFID has been in existence for more than four to five decades, it has mostly been used for inventory tracking. Today, several correctional facilities in the USA, UK, Europe, Asia and Australia are turning to RFID to solve behavioural problems that current prison security management systems have not been able to do. As the use of RIFD in correctional facilities is very new, its application to manage the behaviour of correctional populations needs to be investigated. The article shows that RFID can improve correctional facilities management, as it can for instance, provide the means to precisely locate inmates and staff, confirm counts of inmates continuously, and alert wardens to escapes immediately. Overall, the application of RFID holds promise to improve prisoner behaviour by reducing infractions and assaults, and provide swift and efficient response to reduce the costs of prison operations. These factors contribute towards a safe and secure environment for both staff and inmates. It finally addresses the unique problems, vulnerabilities and issues related to RFID technology in correctional facilities. It highlights how RFID should be used as a supplement to current security infrastructure and how its implementation should be approached. The article reviews relevant literature on RFID and gives an analysis of current concerns. The focus is to determine the value of the RFID as a technology to the criminal justice system in South Africa.

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