Inmates on remand to use jail-court video link

| 12/01/2012

large_hal%20turner.jpg(CNS): Government is hoping to cut down on costs and increase security with the advent of a video link at the prison that will allow inmates detained at HMP Northward and Fairbanks on remand to address the courts or consult with their lawyers without leaving the jail. The CCTV link is expected to go live within weeks to allow "virtual" remand hearings, removing the need to shuttle defendants from the prison to the George Town court house. "We transport some 100 Category-A and -B prisoners and persons on remand weekly, including those charged with capital crimes," said Prison Director Dwight Scott.

The move is also expected to save government significant sums by cutting down on the number of vans and officers needed to guard prisoners when they leave the security of the prison.

Scott said that normally at least three prison staff and two vehicles have been dedicated to processing and transporting remand prisoners each day. Royal Cayman Islands Police Service resources will also be saved as their officers will be relieved of transport and security duties, too.

The CCTV system uses two separate sound-proof rooms at Northward. One, with a 'dock', will enable the judiciary to confirm that the inmate is secured in custody and allow hearings and questioning from the courtroom. A separate room, also equipped with CCTV, will allow confidential conversations between persons on remand and their attorneys.

"Deploying this technology removes the need to transport dangerous persons outside the prison gates, thereby removing many risk factors,” said Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs' Deputy Chief Officer Eric Bush during a live test this week. “Many issues were taken into consideration, including the human rights of those detained."

The application of this "live" technology was coordinated by government's Computer Services Department and included input by Hazard Management Cayman Islands as well as private sector companies, Creative Tech and Aviation Communications. The system uses fibre-optic lines and secured microwave links to transmit the conversations, which are encrypted at both ends to prevent interference.

Backbench government MLA for George Town Ellio Solomon, who is chair of the E-Government Committee, said as well as enhancing security and access, the CCTV link will save government money, with the initial costs of $85,000 being recouped within eight months.

Category: Crime

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Solomon is doing such a great job – please keep up the good work.

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the Modern Age but at least we are slowly getting there.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great idea!

  4. Anonymous says:

    $85,000 savings = less $ than 1 prisoner costs annually – make these criminals actually start making some $ !

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good idea but how did a relatively straight forward system like this it cost $85K? 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Build the new courthouse beside the Northward prison.

     

    It can handle all the criminal cases without all the transportation costs.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am happy Cayman is finally changing for the better, we can now give evidence and not worry about losing our lives, thanks to close caption & CCTV.

    • ThatCaymanian says:

      Ever heard of Skype? Good Idea and I hope it gets done cheaply and efficiently.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The idea for this came from the public service review that was carried out on the Prison Department. Amazing how people like Elio will now line up to take the credit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Many reviews are done and put on a shelf – you go Ellio, you got 'em burning with envy.