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K.V.

Reddy
PresidentAll India Prison Officers Association
09849904733 / 09440060055
Email:kvreddydsp@yahoo.com

Andhra Pradesh Pioneers Telejustice to Increase Security and Cut Costs

With a population of approximately 76 million people, Andhra Pradesh is one of India’s


largest and most-progressive e-government states. Andhra Pradesh’s Department of
Prisons and Correctional Services (AP Prisons Department) oversees seven central
prisons, nine district jails, two women’s prisons, one Borstal school and 120 sub-jails for
inmates serving less than one month or awaiting pretrial.
One of AP Prisons Department’s core responsibilities is to arrange for alleged offenders to
be transported between its prisons and the state’s criminal courts for pretrial. But this is
easier said than done when funding, manpower and vehicles are often in short supply,
and when it is not unheard of for prisoners to escape en route, smuggle contraband or be
attacked by rival gangs once outside the confines of prison.
These resource and security challenges prompted AP Prisons Department to find a
convenient way for the courts to effectively communicate with the prisoners to ensure fair
pretrial proceedings, without the costs and risks associated with transferring prisoners to
and from the courts to stand for pretrial.

The Need for Face-to-face Communication without the Expenses and Dangers of
Transporting Inmates

In March 2003, the Government of Andhra Pradesh received the prestigious "Best e-
Governed State in India" award for its pioneering efforts in providing citizens with
electronic government (e-government) se rvices. In January 2001, AP Prisons
Department turned to technology to find a solution that would circumvent the overhead
and hazards associated with transporting alleged offenders from prison to court and
viceversa.
After analysing the proposals from the many tender candidates, AP Prisons Department
decided to roll out a sophisticated Polycom video conferencing solution to its courtrooms
and jails across 15 districts within the state. Leveraging ISDN technology for the delivery
of simultaneous, high-quality audio and visual transmissions, Andhra Pradesh was the
first Indian state to introduce electronic pretrials (e-pretrials), whereby alleged criminals
are tried in prison using video conferencing, rather than physically appearing in a court of
law.

Polycom’s cutting-edge technology uniquel y satisfied AP Prisons Department’s


comprehensive requirements. Polycom’s easy-to-use and -manage system allows
judges, legal professionals, court officials, inmates and witnesses to seamlessly
communicate face-to-face in real-time as effectively as if they were in the same room. AP
Prisons Department’s advanced Prisons and Courts Network ensures the integrity of the
pretrial process is maintained, while mitigating many of the risks and costs associated with
transporting prisoners to and from court.

Challenge
To find a more secure, cost-effective and efficient way of conducting trials

Solution
Polycom video conferencing system

Result

The introduction of video conferencing with epretrials has helped to increase the
efficiency
of the Criminal justice system by helping the Police, Judiciary and Prisons department to
save manpower, and bring speedy justice and increased security, while realising
discernible time and cost efficiencies “Our judges, court officials and prison
personnel have been very satisfied with Polycom’s video conferencing
system. It is an efficient, costeffective and safe way to conduct pretrial
proceedings, without having to transport prisoners from jail to the courts and
back. Our state-of-the-art Prisons and Courts Network is India’s first of such
kind, enabling us to hold
e-pretrials and bring more efficiency and transparency to the justice
system.”
and
Correctional Services
E-aware Indian State Secures Video Conferencing Solution
to Enhance Judiciary System’s Efficiency
India |
Secures Video Conferencing Solution to Enhance Judiciary System’s & Police
Departments EfficiencBenefits Derived
The introduction of Polycom’s video conferencing solution has eliminated the need for
alleged
offenders to physically appear in court to stand for pretrial, leading to a considerably safer
and morecost-
effective and -efficient Criminal justice system in Andhra Pradesh. Video networking brings
the courtroom to the inmate, instead of the other way around, by providing video
conferencing equipment to
prisoners and their attorneys. By keeping jailed suspects behind bars, e-pretrials eliminate
the security risks associated with moving suspects from detention facilities to the courts –
preventing smuggling of contraband as well as unauthorized communications. By not
transporting inmates to trial, AP Prisons
Department has saved tangible time and AP Police has saved costs, allowing the department
to make more efficient use of the courts and the officers’ time.

The Solution

AP Prisons Department issued a tender to build a


Prisons and Courts Network deploying video
conferencing over ISDN.
After careful deliberation, a 31-unit Polycom video
conferencing solution was selected to be rolled
out across 15 districts in Andhra Pradesh.
A key differentiator of the Polycom system was
the simple user interface, which allowed even
non-technical users like judges and court staff to
easily operate and maintain the judicial video
conferencing system. In addition, Polycom’s
crisp, clear sound and TV-like video quality
convinced the department that e-pretrials would
not compromise the integrity of the pretrial
process and that the groundbreaking introduction
of video conferencing networking would provide a
viable alternative to in-court inmate appearances.
The IT Perspective
AP Prisons Department installed 31 Polycom video conferencing units over ISDN.
The resulting successful implementation of its Prisons and Courts Network will soon
be expanded to include a multipoint control unit to facilitate simultaneous multiparty
conferences.
Best E-governed State in India
Andhra Pradesh’s ambitious goals for the
future are embodied in its Vision 2020
statement. By the year 2020, Andhra
Pradesh plans to “have achieved a level of
development that will provide its people
with tremendous opportunities to achieve
prosperity and well being, and enjoy a high
quality of life”.
“E-governance and IT as an instrument of
Good Governance” is a critical initiative
where first steps are being taken to
convert the vision into action.
AP Prisons Department’s advanced
Prisons and Courts Network was India’s
first deployment of a video conferencing
network in a judicial application. Benefits
are expected to extend to judges, legal
professionals, court officials, inmates, and
witnesses.
The Next Steps
Following the successful implementation of
the initial Polycom Prisons and Courts
Network, AP Prisons Department now
plans to install a Polycom multipoint
control unit (MCU) to allow simultaneous
multiparty conferencing of suspects in
different jails with the Magistrate.
About the Department of Prisons and
Correctional Services in Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh’s Department of Prisons
and Correctional Services (AP Prisons
Department) is administratively controlled
by the Home Department of the
Government of Andhra Pradesh.
The Director General & Inspector General
of Prisons and Correctional Services is
head of the department at the state level,
and is charged with ensuring the return of
offenders to society as well-adjusted
individuals.
AP Prisons Department oversees seven
central prisons, nine district prisons, two
women’s prisons, one vocational training
centre for juvenile convicts, and 120 subjails
for inmates serving less than one
month or awaiting trial.