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Managed Services

Verizon Tailors Video to Criminal Justice

Verizon Enterprise Solutions is combining its videoconference experience and its recent efforts to develop industry-specific services to create collaboration packages specifically targeting criminal justice systems.

Verizon now offers a set of video and professional consulting services geared to help court systems reduce the need for prisoner transport for attorney meetings, court appearances, and even healthcare services. The primary benefit of Verizon Telejustice Collaboration Solutions and Verizon Telehealth Collaboration for Prisons is in cost reduction for criminal justice systems facing prison population growth and budget constraints, says Kannan Sreedhar, managing director of Verizon Business Public Sector Practice.

"We are providing a complete solution to control costs, while at the same time we can help ensure the safety and security of both the general public and the justice personnel," Sreedhar says. "States are hemorrhaging from a capital perspective, and the justice system is a huge portion of state budgets. So there is a lot of pressure to cut spending."

Verizon will provide an integrated set of collaboration tools, delivered on top of Verizon transport services, that enable judges, attorneys, and others who work within the justice system to conduct hearings, share court documents, diagrams, and other evidence, via video and collaboration systems. The need to move prisoners back and forth is greatly reduced, as is the need to fly in experts who could provide testimony via videoconference, eliminating a major expense and enabling courts to operate more smoothly with less unnecessary delay, Sreedhar says.

The idea behind a managed service is to make it much easier for criminal justice systems to take advantage of the latest in video and collaboration technologies, without having to handle the complexity of integrating video into their operations, since Verizon will handle that for them.

This approach also reduces the need for highly paid legal personnel to travel to prisons and for prisons to pay for highly secure prisoner transport, Sreedhar maintains. Videoconferencing may even represent a way for family members who don't live near a prison and don't have transportation to have regular contact with prisoners -- something that research shows is important to the rehabilitation process.

The Verizon Telehealth Collaboration for Prisons is an even more specific service, aimed at enabling quality healthcare for the prison population without always having to transport prisoners and secure them at local hospitals.

"States typically build prisons in places far away from major medical facilities," Sreedhar says. "Having to have a specialist go to the prison system, and then following up on a patient, is a costly use of time, and all of that is a challenge to the system."

Enabling prisoners to be evaluated initially via videoconferencing will reduce unnecessary prisoner transport while maintaining a level of care, he says.

Verizon Business will sell these services to government units -- federal, state, and local -- as part of its public sector business unit. The idea is for the federal or state or local court to purchase the service and make it available to others, such as private attorneys, to enable access to their clients who are prisoners.

Verizon has been very actively engaged in developing services that target specific industry verticals, and government is one of those verticals, but this latest round of services represents an even finer tuning of that effort. (See Verizon Launches Health Information Exchange.)

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:28:13 PM
re: Verizon Tailors Video to Criminal Justice

If there are fewer in-person meetings, that reduces the number of opportunities to move drugs into and money out of the prisons themselves. So I wonder if this will work at all...

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