Featured Article from Conferencing

Prison Inmates Consult Doctors Through Video Conferencing

May 30, 2017

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the growing prominence of video conferencing in the legal system. Whether inmates are utilizing video conferencing to discuss their case with attorneys, testify in court in front of judges, or even talk face to face with family members, it’s changing the way inmates interact with the world. Now, Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai is taking the use of video conferencing a step further by using it for telemedicine purposes.

According to The Hindu, Taloja Jail is going to be providing telemedicine facilities to its 2,230 inmates very soon. The purpose of these services is to allow inmates to consult doctors at the State-run J.J. Hospital through video conferencing.

One of the reasons video conferencing services are so needed is because there aren’t enough guards to escort inmates everywhere. Of the 2,230 inmates, 372 are convicts, meaning that they need an escort wherever they go. Meanwhile, jail inmates are part of cases taking place in 220 different courts throughout Thane, Mumbai, Kalyan, Alibaug and Navi Mumbai. There simply aren’t enough guards to escort everyone to court hearings around the country, not to mention to hospitals. However, the prison obviously can’t deny the inmates access to healthcare, and therefore needed to find a solution that could be quickly implemented.

That’s where video conferencing is going to come into play. Deputy SP (Taloja Jail) Sadanand Gaikwad is looking forward to the introduction of video conferencing technology at the prison, telling The Hindu, “We had three doctors, but one retired recently. All beds are mostly full, but in extreme cases we consult Vashi Municipal Hospital, where the doctors mostly refer patients to JJ Hospital. Instead of travelling there, the telemedicine facility here will be welcome. We expect the facility to be started by June.”

Taloja Jail is no stranger to video conferencing. It has been using the technology in some legal cases, so that inmates could appear for court remotely. However, the infrastructure was not strong enough and limited the number of times video conferencing could be used.

Gaikwad stated, “Till a few months ago, only 150 video conferencing sessions were conducted every month due to lack of of adequate IT infrastructure. With more units being installed, video conferencing sessions have gone up to 700 a month. Convicts who wish to appeal in the Supreme Court don’t have to travel to Delhi, and can depose from here using video conferencing.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle