The names of records as well as their content can vary widely from one place to another. The essential point is that certain key information be listed in a systematic, understandable, consistent, and easily-accessible way while maintaining the right to privacy for those concerned. Records should be standardized and not unnecessarily duplicate information contained elsewhere.
- The office register and/or the prison records should include a set of data concerning newly admitted people and their placement in the institution but also the identity of the police escort and its place of origin. On this basis, it can be demonstrated that the detention is lawful and arbitrary detention can be prevented. Records of this nature must also include all information regarding transfers and releases.
- The function of the daily log or book of observation is to list all aspects relevant to daily life in the establishment. It’s the type of document that best reflects everyday life in an establishment and, if necessary, should enable the reconstruction of the circumstances of an incident. Usually, entries and exits, searches, placement in disciplinary cells, etc., can be found in the daily log.
- Individual detainee files are essential to guarantee proper care, particularly with a view to the person’s rehabilitation. Normally, individual records a detail detainees’ stay throughout the entire detention period and are transferred in the event the detainee is sent to another establishment. Other than the person’s identity and legal situation, individual files may also contain information linked to detention regime, behaviour, incidents, participation in training and activities etc. This information, which is usually recorded by trained personnel, such as social workers or probation officers, is concerned with the person’s social and professional rehabilitation. This information should never be used against those concerned and access to this information should be restricted to certain duly authorised people. Medical records should be kept separate from individual files.
-Medical records are essential to guarantee medical care for detainees. They should also include details of any possible care administered after allegations of ill-treatment. Therefore, they are a major safeguard for detainees. Medical records should be protected by medical confidentiality. Detainees should have access to the information contained in their medical record.
Institutions can keep numerous other types of records. Some are put in place by the central administration and others by the management of the place in question. These records vary greatly from one place to another but all can contain useful information and contribute to transparency and the obligation of accountability. Some examples of records are:
- disciplinary area records
- body search records
- records concerning means of constraint
- register of external monitoring and internal inspections
- register of detainees’ money or valuables
- register of facilities checks (including cell searches)
- weapons register
The obligation to keep records should be prescribed by law and accompanied by a decree of implementation in order to facilitate practical usage.