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Research on Videoconferencing at Post-Arraignment Release Hearings: Phase I Final Report, Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2015
9 pages
This is the executive summary of the final report of Phase I of the NIJ-funded project whose aim is to identify protocols that improve practices and maximize return on investment using videoconferencing to expedite judicial decisionmaking about whether to release a defendant from custody and the appropriate conditions of release, including bail.
Videoconferencing is an interactive technology that enables two or more parties who are in separate locations to communicate with one another through video, voice, and data-sharing. The goal of Phase I was to compile information on past and current videoconferencing applications, using interviews and court/jail observation to identify key concerns and solutions (court rules) for protocol. Phase I marks an important first step toward developing an understanding of the need, challenges, requirements, and practices for conducting pretrial-release hearings through video technology. It provides criminal justice practitioners and policymakers with access to information on the use of videoconferencing technology in pretrial-release hearings, and it may provide early guidance on whether technology integration is feasible for their jurisdictions. Technical software and transmission capacity was a key consideration for the implementation of videoconferencing. Among the technological considerations discussed in this report are video and audio capacity; physical setup of technology; ability to address challenges; and recording, storage, and use of videoconferencing data. In addition to technology considerations, pre-implementation issues are discussed, including cost, improved public safety, rural versus urban areas, populations served, and protection of civil liberties. Program implementation is also discussed in this report. Phase II will consist of a field test, and Phase III will involve an evaluation. 10 references

Date Published: March 1, 2015