Last week I discussed how video conferencing is providing more convenient and safer interactions for inmates. Today I am taking a closer look at some of the benefits for video conferencing inside courtrooms.
Video conferencing has the ability to shrink the world. In smaller communities distance may not be an issue, getting to the courthouse can be less than a few hundred miles away. However, places with larger geographical areas often have major conflicts when individuals have to travel to the courthouse. Video conferencing breaks down those hurdles and saves time for everyone involved. The US does not have power to require individuals living overseas to testify in a US courtroom, so this technology may be the only way to receive a testimony from a foreign witness.
This is probably the most important benefit and also the easiest to demonstrate. Everyone wants to save money, even when it comes to those advocates who are extremely critical of increasing the use of technology in the courts. Travel costs are often billed back to the client, so paying for airfare and a hotel not only takes more time, but it ends up costing the client. Many look at this technology as being too expensive, but in the long run video conference is a huge tool for saving on costs.
Often times it is safer to have particular individuals in a separate location than the judge and other parties involved in the case. Transporting inmates to and from courtrooms creates risks for security officers, court personnel and for the public. This risk becomes outstanding in a multi defendant criminal proceeding, because it involves a group of prisoners. Keeping inmates in a confined area where they can use video conferencing, reduces this risk and increases security.
Video conferencing allows the use of technology in a variety of ways and settings. It can make scheduling easier and cause less stress on the administration. It can also help facilitate Alternative Dispute Resolution, which refers to any means of settling disputes outside of the courtroom. It allows the parties themselves to control the process and the solution.