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Wisconsin connects families via VTC

April 29, 2010 - 0 Comments

For young people in the corrections system, frequent interaction with parents and other family members can be uplifting and have positive impacts on their behavior. Unfortunately, juvenile offenders in the Wisconsin correctional system are often relocated far away from their families to distance juvenile corrections centers.

In an effort to bring these young people back in touch with their families and help to speed their rehabilitation process, the state has recently turned to video teleconferencing (VTC).

The VTC system, purchased with a $1,500 grant from the state Office of Justice Assistance, connects the state’s three major juvenile detention facilities to county facilities in Dane and Milwaukee and other Department of Corrections offices around the state. This enables the families to show support and provide guidance for their children face-to-face, without the need for long trips to the juvenile corrections centers.

This is especially important because many young people in the corrections system are at a crossroads. The ability to interact and receive support from families is a positive step in ensuring that they avoid the path that leads to a life of continued behavior problems, crime and jail.

The use of VTC solutions in the corrections system isn’t just limited to the juvenile corrections systems, however. As we’ve written on Break Down the Walls in the past, VTC solutions have become a more effective, efficient and inexpensive alternative to many processes in courts and prisons.

With state budgets spread thin due to the ongoing economic downturn and decreased tax revenue, many states are turning to VTC for providing medical care to prison inmates. Others are conducting hearing and court proceedings with the accused appearing via VTC. This reduces the need for transporting criminals outside of prisons, which is expensive and dangerous.

Also, with the recent Supreme Court ruling that forensic experts must now be present at trials for cross-examination, many courts are now allowing experts to appear in court via video. This reduces the cost for states and the experts.

VTC is breaking down the walls between young people in the juvenile corrections system and their families and making the entire criminal justice system operate more effectively and efficiently. Now that’s a new way of serving and protecting.

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