During the last 15 months, justice courts in Utah have been conducting business online with a video conferencing system known as CourtCom.
The system allows judges to conduct preliminary proceedings and arraignments via a secure Internet connection, pointed out state justice court officials.
CourtCom assists justice courts to better manage case dockets while improving safety and security at courthouses.
The system is expected to create some $500,000 in savings in transportation and security costs, indicated Utah justice court officials.
The system is also expected to reduce prisoner jail time by allowing justice court judges to hear cases more quickly.
The only equipment needed for CourtCom is a secure Internet connection, along with a computer, microphone, headset, and webcam.
The vide conferencing system operates through the Internet and is encrypted in order to be totally secure, pointed out justice court officials.
Webcams have been installed in courts and at the jails so the judge and defendants can view each other.
"CourtCom is a win-win system," pointed out Clearfield Justice Court Judge John Sandberg. "CourtCom reduces jail costs, transportation costs, and generally results in early release for defendants, while saving money."
CourtCom has been installed by VIACK Corporation at 134 justice courts and 29 correctional facilities at locations throughout the state, according to Utah officials.
The final installation took place at the Salt Lake City Justice Court on Aug. 24.
The total cost of the installation registered at $220,000, which has been paid for with grant monies allocated by the Utah security, technology and training fund.
The fund receives monies from surcharges on criminal cases, concluded state justice court officials.