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Planning and Implementation Analysis: Pilot Programs for Video Conferencing of Inmate Grievance Appeal Hearings

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Author(s): (Jeanne Bilanin) (Jonathan O'Reilly) (C David Crumpton)

This report documents the first of three evaluations of video-conferencing pilot projects that were initiated following a May 2009 order by the Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals authorizing courts to conduct pilot programs in which certain judicial proceedings would be conducted via video conferencing. Under this pilot, circuit courts in Allegany, Anne Arundel, and Somerset Counties implemented video conferencing of inmate grievance appeal hearings. Under the pilot program, inmates appear before judges remotely from existing video-conferencing rooms at three correctional institutions. Major benefits are reduced risk of harm to court and correctional staff, attorneys for the Division of Correction, and the public because inmates are no longer brought to courthouses for grievance appeal hearings; reduced cost and time involved in transporting inmates; and reductions in attorneys' travel costs and time. The pilot program appears to be operating to the satisfaction of the participating organizations.