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Prisons Turning to Teleconferencing to Save Money

Gas prices and strict state budgets have prompted at least 11 states — Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee — to start regularly using teleconferences between judges and inmates. The move is seen as a way to both improve public safety and save cash.

The AP reports that some inmates say they'd prefer to plead their cases in person, but correction officials say the technology offers a fair alternative to spending millions of dollars moving inmates in person. To see how much the trend saves the state per court date and how it's working in Connecticut,


It costs the state of Connecticut at least $1,600 every time it moves one multiple murder suspect (and high security inmate) to appear in a courtroom. In Oct. the state installed teleconferencing equipment in all of its 18 correctional facilities and more than 150 inmates used the system to participate in hearings involving parole, civil and family court, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Social Security Administration.

The state's court system has a working group that may expand the technique. Do you think teleconferencing offers inmates a fair arena to plead their cases?


Join The Conversation
poeticgrace poeticgrace 8 years
It surprises me which states are using this technology. Most of them aren't what people would ordinarily consider at the forefront of technology.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I think this is a great idea. It seems to me that an inmate's plea should be approved or rejected based on facts and whatever hard legal support (of laws and precedents, not lawyers, I mean) rather than personal persuasiveness anyway. As others have said, however, I doubt the inmates will like this.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
that's an interesting thought - that you can avoid having escapes happen. i can understand the rationale for something like this, but if i were an inmate, i think that i would rather go in person to plead my case since you're more realistically perceived in person rather than via a teleconference. i wonder what impact this will have on hearings.
katrina1020 katrina1020 8 years
This is really interesting. Having sat through many criminal court sessions in SC I can definitely see the pros and cons. I can see why South Carolina would be interested in this b/c the Judges still ride the circuit. This means that in some situations, the inmates have to be transported entirely across the state. There are also many situations where the wrong inmates get sent or transport orders get lost. I can definitely see this change decreasing the delay in hearings.
silversnowflake silversnowflake 8 years
I think so too, about the inmates might take the change, but... saving money and getting more safety out of the deal is more important than feelings. As long as the law is followed to the tee, which it hardly ever is... I'm sure that there will be drawbacks that will show up after a while, but until then its all good.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
:rotfl: That's funny Beavis! I think its a good idea to save money in the long run BUT I don't think many inmates will like that idea. I'm sure you can more persuasive in person then on web-cam!
beavis667 beavis667 8 years
Not moving around prisoners has other added benefits. For instance, we can avoid any messy Nicholas Cage/Con-Air episodes with prisoners taking over a transport plane and a good hearted inmate with a mullet having to bring them back to justice.
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