OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — New video equipment installed in August at the Oklahoma County jail to help with certain courtroom procedures has yet to be used.
The $3,000 camera and video system was intended to reduce risks and provide relief transporting inmates to and from the courthouse, the Oklahoman reported .
A 2016 Vera Institute of Justice report found that the jail’s resource limitations led to the sheriff’s office transporting either too many or too few inmates to the courthouse. The lack of coordination caused logistical challenges and courthouse delays.
Jail officials are eager to utilize the technology. But county justices are still weighing the potential pitfall of legal violations.
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“We’re trying to make things as efficient as we can, and protect people’s Constitutional rights,” said Oklahoma County District Judge Timothy Henderson. “If there are some things we can do over video, we’re going to try to do it. There are certain rights every criminal has — being in court during proceedings.”
Henderson said officials are trying to develop ways to protect inmate’s rights.
Public Defender Bob Ravitz said the equipment couldn’t be used for hearings, trials or instances where defendant advocacy is required. Ravitz said the system would be useful when court procedures are postponed or when a defendant requests more time to consider a plea
Sheriff’s Department Spokesman Mark Opgrande said using the video system could help with inmates that may cause security concerns by transferring them to the courthouse frequently. He said many times inmates won’t even meet with a judge when they’re brought to the court.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com