“The Michigan Department of Corrections is thanking a citizen for helping to prevent the escape of a prisoner who tried to grab an officer’s gun at I-69 rest stop Wednesday.”
As in just a few Wednesdays ago. This recent Detroit news article is one of many that reports on incidents of violence during prisoner transportation. A weak spot in prison security around the globe, prisoner transports present an opportunity for detainees to attempt, and possibly succeed with, an escape. Not only does this vulnerability threaten the law enforcement facilitating the transport, but it puts the public at risk of being victimized by an escaped convict.
As Department Spokesman Chris Gautz told the Detroit Free Press, “The incident also illustrates the need to make greater use of video conferencing and minimize the use of prisoner transports for most court appearances.”
We couldn’t agree more, which is why we want to speak more to the significance of electronic arraignments (eArraignment).
Off the Cuff: Electronic Arraignments
Supporting both remote video and face-to-face arraignment, the eArraignment solution digitally assembles the entire case file before providing the court with a framework for quickly conducting an arraignment and document signing process. In itself, not having to manually build these often-sizable case files donates valuable time back to the lifecycle of cases and allows court staff to focus their attention on more significant matters.
Able to electronically exchange and sign digitalized charging documents between the prosecutor’s office, the court, the jail, government agencies and other necessary facilities, total arraignment time is expedited and wraps up in just a few minutes. As the justice community knows, solving for the time-sensitive nature of arraignments ensures criminals stay in custody and do not walk free, posing a potential threat to the community, because their arraignment somehow slipped through the cracks. Automated checkpoints carrying arraignment through to finish also lends itself to mitigated risk for human error throughout the process. And with the entire case file just clicks away on his or her mobile device, laptop, etc., the Judge now has easier access and greater visibility into case files both on or off the bench.
Courtroom Technology: A Common Trial
As explained in recent guest blog by our own Senior Justice Consultant Brad Smith, the evolution of the courtroom in the last 30 years has been extraordinary and, in many ways, unforeseen.
Following the National Center for State Court’s recommended Component Model approach to courtroom technology, it’s now easier and more accessible than ever to digitalize the justice process from start to finish. By simply “snapping on” best-in-class components that support each courtroom’s functionality needs, such as electronic arraignments, filings and bench software, digitalized workflows, video evidence handling capabilities and more, courts are able to give the high-quality attention each case needs while simultaneously gaining momentum on the number of cases seen per day and, ultimately, per year – all with just a few clicks.
We Want to Hear From You
Has your court implemented a remote or completely electronic arraignments?
If so, how do you like it? If not, would you prefer they did?
Respond in the “comments” section below or on our Court Solution Showcase page. We read and respond – promise!