It is widely known that conferencing services are extensively being used in different sectors, but could prisons and detention facilities benefit as well?
India sure seems to think so!
In the western Indian state of Maharashtra, a facility comprising a network of fourteen prisons has been experimenting with prisons with much success. In fact, it’s not much of an experiment as their video conferencing rooms first began back in 2005.
Local state officials identified two important factors in implementing a conferencing solution:
- Cost reduction due to less police escorts needing to be use to ferry prisoners around
- Security was also a factor as prisoners generally required more supervision when traveling thus increasing likelihood of difficulties
Another factor identified was difficulty in administrating the prisons. For example, female prisoners who needed to be physically moved required female security guards. The availability of transport vehicles also needed to be arranged ahead of time as well as a host of other tasks. Video conferencing minimized many of these problems.
But India is not the only country.
Local Democratic legislator Ben Sherrer, from the state of Oklahoma, plans to introduce legislation that would allow the usage of video conferencing in certain criminal court cases in his city. In fact, 21 such systems have already been setup across the state, used mainly for parole and pardon related cases. Main benefits identified were cost savings and improved security.
Maryland corrections officials are also considering installing similar systems to allow inmates to make court appearances and doctors visits more efficiently and securely. One interesting usage of the technology would be to allow “virtual” visits by family members of prisoners.
While the prison system is usually not the first think that comes to mind when discussing video conferencing technology, it is increasingly becoming a reality in local jurisdictions as a means of cost-cutting and improving security for everyone involved.