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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, read more.

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?

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