Video Conferencing Cuts Costs for the Georgia Prison System

The 35 hearings Georgia Judge J. Wade Padgett held from January through March saved the prison system nearly $6,000. Video-conferencing equipment was set up at two of the state’s 34 prisons.

(TNS) — Judge J. Wade Padgett emailed the man in charge of the Department of Corrections to ask whether it would be possible to establish a secure, private phone line for attorneys to talk to clients who are in prison.

Sure, the director said, and asked for a favor back: Could the judge help figure out a way to reduce the number of prisoner transports to the state’s Superior Courts?

The Superior Court rules allow video conferencing for a number of court proceedings – as long as they are recorded, Padgett said. He volunteered to try it in the Augusta Judicial Circuit. The Corrections Department paid for the necessary computer system and worked with Augusta’s IT department to set it up. The offices of the public defender and district attorney jumped on board, Padgett said.