Savings from videoconferencing expected to reach $4.8M in 2016

The Michigan Supreme Court announced June 22 that the deployment of videoconferencing equipment in 780 courtrooms and other hearing rooms has saved the Michigan Department of Corrections $14.7 million since 2010.  Annual savings have climbed from $649,000 in FY 2011 to $4.3 million in FY 2015.  Savings in FY 2016 are expected to reach $4.8 million.

“By facilitating the virtual transport of prisoners for routine hearings, videoconferencing is saving money and reducing risk statewide for the Department of Corrections,” said Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr.

“Beyond the cost savings, benefits to local law enforcement include freeing up officers to focus on road patrol and other duties to enhance public safety.”

By the end of 2016, the project is expected to achieve a goal of video equipment in every Michigan courtroom with a judge.  This goal has already been achieved in 81 counties, with Wayne and Washtenaw counties to be completed this calendar year (deployment map attached below).

Since 2010, more than 18,000 state prisoners have been “transported” to court via video, and use of the video equipment is expected to grow.  For example, in 2015, the Supreme Court greatly expanded the ability of trial courts to use videoconferencing equipment in civil proceedings with the adoption of MCR 2.407. 

Additional revisions are now being considered by the Supreme Court to expand use of the equipment in additional types of cases and in more types of hearings.  Those revisions will be one of the items on the agenda of the Supreme Court's September 2016 public hearing.

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