Setting up video conferencing systems in prisons could save countries thousands a year. With the clever use of the available technology, prisons could reduce costs of inmate transports by enabling a visual communication tool directly from their facility. Transporting prisoners costs money and time. For example, the El Paso County, Texas Jail makes 200 bus trips a year transporting inmates to the court and back. Every transport requires at least three officers to escort each inmate.
Video conferencing in prisons can be used for parole hearings, misconduct hearings, administrative meetings and witness testimony without the transportation costs and risks to public safety necessary for face-to-face meetings. If executed correctly, this communication tool could greatly expand throughout the department.
However, some courts and judges are still reluctant to make use of video conferencing in their courts. This is due to the worry of trouble shooting various sites and the challenges of keeping everything up and running. Also some courts have tried free solutions software like for example Skype in the past and were not satisfied with the experience and are therefore uninterested in using this method again. But this is where the experts come in. Here at Eyenetwork we work with court cases on a daily basis. Connecting witnesses to courts, regardless of their global location is a daily task here at our offices. Video hearings and testimonials are becoming an everyday part of the court experience as technology is developing further and further. Some experts state that in the next five years it is realistic to expect every facility to have video conferencing capabilities as video conferencing is becoming a standard method in courts.
There is also potential for prisoners to use the technology for job interviews while they are still within the facility. By the time a prisoner is released, he or she could have a job lined up and a complete support network set up for parole activities all through the use of video conferencing.
It is clear that video conferencing has a lot of potential in this area and if properly and professionally executed it could become a must have for courts and prisons all around the world.