Sen. Kissel Applauds Grant for Inmate Video Hearings

November 17, 2009

State Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) today praised Governor Rell’s leadership in finding an innovative way to save money in the Department of Correction budget. The Governor has announced the use of $1.7 million in federal stimulus fund to enhance video conferencing between prisons and courthouses across the state. The increased use of video conferencing will cut down on costs and eliminate the need to transport dangerous inmates.

“When looking at the Department of Correction budget, there is really very little room to make substantial cuts without affecting the safety of our institutions,” said Sen. Kissel. “While this is a small initiative, every little bit counts and I applaud the Governor’s leadership in finding additional savings. We can’t use stimulus funds for the general fund, but programs like this will have an impact on our bottom line.”

“Additionally, video conferencing will reduce the safety risks associated with transporting inmates to and from courthouses around the state. It makes sense to keep inmates in secured facilities for these hearings and advancing technology now allows us to do that. Connecticut has long been a leader in Corrections issues and this is just another way we are using an innovative approach to dealing with the many challenges of the criminal justice system,” added Sen. Kissel.

The funds will be used for the purchase and installation of additional video conferencing equipment at the state’s 18 correctional facilities and at 13 Judicial District Courthouses, 13 Geographical Area Courthouses, 11 Juvenile Matters Courthouses and 21 regional Court Support Services Division offices. Currently the Judicial Branch has only six court facilities equipped for video conferencing.