Safe and Secure Remote Court Proceedings
Paulding County Sheriff's Office
Paulding County, GA
Paulding County, GA’s detention facilities made remote court proceedings safe, streamlined, and secure using Pexip video conferencing.
Improve services with remote proceedings
When Paulding County started building a new detention facility in 2016, its leaders saw an opportunity to be forward-thinking and pave the way for other state municipalities. The goal was to improve the quality of the services available to the county’s inmate population, while increasing safety and improving efficiency.
In Paulding, as with many other county jail systems throughout the United States, “pods”, which are enclosed living areas for different groups of inmates, are key features of the facility. The Paulding County detention facility has 12 pods, each of which includes cells and a central area for congregating.
The Sheriff’s Office had an idea to utilize the pods for remote interactions, such as court hearings and visits from religious advisors. “I wanted the court and other outside services to be able to come into those pods,” says Colonel Chad Hunton, Chief Deputy at the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office.
Hunton soon realized that Paulding would be a pioneer in this respect, as none of the other state facilities he spoke with had taken this bold approach to their operations. AVI-SPL, Paulding County’s chosen provider of digital enablement solutions, then needed to find the right partners to understand the vision and bring it to life.
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Simplify operations using Pexip
Simplify operations using Pexip Understanding Paulding County’s need for more efficiency, AVI-SPL’s designers knew that they had to find a simple and flexible system that would work today and in the future. In developing the solution, AVI-SPL worked with Hunton and his law enforcement team, as well as the county’s IT department and the clerk’s office.
As the chosen video conferencing platform, Pexip became a key player in providing the foundation for these new remote proceedings. The team addressed the design of the video equipment and created a streamlined, integrated workflow for Paulding County staff.
“Our goal was to simplify what they’re doing today and integrate that into the new system,” says AVI-SPL Services Account Manager Sterling Enfield.
Pexip was chosen as the video conferencing provider for several reasons: It has multiple deployment options and is a flexible, scalable solution that can adapt with the customer’s changing needs. Paulding County deployed Pexip on-premise to maintain the data control and security it needed. “Pexip was the only solutions provider that was able to do that,” says Enfield.
Secure video conferencing helped Paulding County improve security by reducing its need to transfer detainees from the detention facility to court for their bond hearings, arraignments, and other types of proceedings.
Better security and services
The team equipped multiple spaces with video conferencing, including the magistrate court room, visitors center, medical services, bookings, and each of the multipurpose rooms in the 12 pods. As a result, the facility has improved security and streamlined staffing needs by bringing court services directly to the inmates through video conferencing.
Using this solution, detainees who are scheduled to appear before a judge can connect easily to the system used by the magistrate court. Judges and others in the courtroom can see the video of each inmate on a large pull-down screen or on the laptop at the judge’s bench.
The system itself, along with the training materials for new users, are designed to make the system easily accessible to a wide spectrum of users and from a range of different devices. The solution has also helped Paulding County improve security by reducing its need to transfer detainees from the detention facility to court for their bond hearings, arraignments, and other types of proceedings.
“The staff realizes how much time it’s saving them,” says Hunton. An even bigger benefit may be that the remote meetings have helped protect the health and safety of inmates, judges, and others throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “The system really helped us out a lot,” says Hunton. “With our protocols in place and with this system, we’ve had no COVID outbreaks in our detention facility.”
Down the road, Paulding is looking to add a virtual visitor center that allows a pastor, rabbi, or priest to deliver religious services, and enables other providers to offer educational, addiction, and rehabilitation services. “We’re just getting started,” says Enfield. “There’s so much more we could do to scale this system.”
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