Title: Video-conferencing for prisoners
Category: Custodial Operations - Standard Operating Procedure
Implement Date: 13 July 2012
Application: Custodial Operations
Appendices and Forms
Associated Custodial Operations Standard Operating Procedures
QCSA Training Manual
Review Date: February 2016
Ownership: Custodial Operations
|PART A - LEGAL ADVICE AND REPRESENTATION VIDEO CONFERENCING|
|3.||Conduct of Videoconferencing for Legal Advice and Representation|
|PART B - COURT VIDEO CONFERENCING|
|5.||Court Appointments and Video Court Operational Configuration|
|6.||Prisoners Presentation and Appearance at a VCC|
|8.||Termination of a Video Court Conference Call|
|PART C - FAMILY VIDEO CONFERENCING|
|9.||Family Video-Conference Calls|
|9.1||Approved community video-conference sites|
|9.2||Application for video-conference call|
|9.5||Payment for video-conferencing calls|
|9.7||Recording or monitoring of video-conference calls|
|9.8||Termination of video-conference calls|
A process is in place that provides for the management of prisoner access to video-conferencing technology. This is undertaken in accordance with-
Safety & Security - Our Principles
Refer - Safety and Security - Our Principles (in-confidence)
Chief Inspector Healthy Prisons 2007 -
Refer - Healthy Prisons Handbook
Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia - standards 1.17 access to legal representation, 3.19 - 3.34 Community Contact including Visits
Refer- Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia Revised 2004
Acts Interpretation Act 1954, s. 32DA
Corrective Services Act 2006, ss. 50, 51, 52, 132, 134, 166
District Court of Queensland Act 1967
Justices Act 1886
Legal Profession Act 2007
Marriage Act 1961 (Cth), s. 23B
The general manager of a corrective services facility must establish systems for the management, control and administration for prisoner access to-
Family video conference (FVC) - means the system enabling visual contact by prisoners with family located in another corrective services facility or a remote community
Legal Calls - means telephone calls to numbers listed on the video court system as authorised legal numbers. Legal calls are to be made to the court where the prisoner will be appearing. Legal calls must not be recorded or monitored. Legal calls include calls to-
Video Conferencing Technology (VCT) - means the system enabling visual contact between a prisoner and a court or legal representative.
Video Court Centre (VCC) - means the building that houses the equipment that allows video contact between a prisoner and a court.
Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ) - means the government funded organisation that represents prisoners who cannot fund their own defence.
Utilisation of videoconferencing technology for the provision of legal advice and representation will be in accordance with this standard operating procedure and the following-
If Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) proposes the relocation of LAQ video conferencing equipment in any correctional centre, it will-
QCS in consultation with the Department of Justice and Attorney General and the courts will determine which courts and which booths within the VCC will operate as part of the video court system.
Refer appendix - Video Court Conferencing Protocols
The general manager or nominee must-
Prisoners must be secured in their respective video booth with a name plate clearly displayed in front of them for presentation to the court and to ensure that they are correctly identified. The name plates will be made up by staff from the VCC.
The following also applies-
The general manager or nominee must establish a process to manage the appearance of
a maximum security unit (MSU) prisoner before a video court. This may involve negotiations with the relevant court to schedule the appearance of a MSU prisoner at a time when no other prisoners will be present.
There is to be no set duration time stipulation for the conducting of the VCC process. The Magistrate or Justice will determine the time required for each prisoner. When a prisoner has been dealt with, court staff will advise VCC staff that the court matter has been completed whereupon the prisoner may be removed from the video booth.
There will be no lock down periods for staff working in the VCC. The supervisor responsible for that area is to ensure that the existing staff are covered during their required meal break periods and also for any designated lockdown training sessions.
A video court conference call may be terminated for reasons including, but not limited to-
Access to video-conference calls may be approved by the general manager for the purposes of helping approved prisoners maintain relationships with family members who would otherwise be required to travel long distances to visit the prisoner. For example, access may be granted to assist in the maintenance of family relationships and address the special needs of Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander prisoners.
Prisoners may also make video-conference calls to other approved prisoners. Refer standard operating procedure - Inter-facility Prisoner Contact. If access is granted, approved prisoners are only permitted to may make video-conference calls from QCS video-conferencing equipment.
Contact through video-conferencing should be conducted using only community sites approved by QCS. Applications to register a community site must be directed to the Commissioner for consideration. QCS will maintain a list of approved community sites (refer Videoconferencing Site Directory (in-confidence)), along with any agreements negotiated between QCS and the community site. Agreements must include any conditions imposed upon the sites, along with any cost negotiations.
Prisoners wishing to use a facility's video-conferencing technology must submit a written application, listing the names and dates of birth of all persons to be called.
A prisoner must also state if they are a respondent of a current domestic violence order, protection order or restraining order where a family member nominated for the video-conference call is a subject of the order. Where this is identified, a copy of the order must be obtained and considered prior to approving the video-conferencing call. If an order contains a non-contact provision the video-conferencing call must not take place.
Refer administrative form - Application for a Family Video-conference
Family video-conferences are only to be conducted during business hours and are subject to operational priorities.
If a prisoner initiates a request for a family video-conference, the request must be made in writing to the contact officer at the corrective services facility. The request must be placed on the prisoner's Prisoner File. The contact officer should then contact the nominated family member/s and forward administrative form - Application for a Family Video-conference for the family member/s to complete.
Where a family member initiates the request, and the prisoner agrees to accept the call, the family member and all other participants must complete and return administrative form - Application for a Family Video-conference. This form is available from the facility or the QCS internet site.
The family member must state if they are the subject of a current domestic violence order, protection order or restraining order where the prisoner is the respondent. If this is identified, a copy of the order must be provided and considered prior to the video-conferencing call taking place. If an order contains a non-contact provision the video-conferencing call must not take place.
Where an application for a family videoconference includes details of a child, the child is not required to complete a separate application. However, the applicant must complete the relevant details concerning the child as required in administrative form - Application for a Family Video-conference. All applications to call prisoners, made by or on behalf of children under the age of 18 years must be approved by the general manager. Approval must only be granted if the call is assessed as being in the child's best interests.
Refer - CSA s. 166
Any person applying for participation in a video-conference call under a false identity or who knowingly provides false information in administrative form - Application for a Family Video-conference commits an offence under CSA s. 134.
An application to contact a prisoner via family video-conferencing may be approved by the general manager.
The general manager must consider the following before approving a video-conference call instead of a telephone call-
Where approval for a video-conference is granted, the prisoner must be informed of the date, time, and family members approved to be present. The family members must also be notified and advised of the location of the approved community site for the video-conference.
If a prisoner is transferred to another facility before an approved video-conference occurs, the general manager of the receiving facility must determine whether the video-conference will proceed at the receiving facility.
All completed application forms should be retained on the prisoner's Offender Management File.
As a guide, the duration of a family video-conference should be no longer than 15 minutes per prisoner per quarter to ensure equitable access for all prisoners. Extended or additional contact may be approved by the general manager, subject to operational limitations.
The general manager may pay for a video-conference call if it is considered there is sufficient reason to do so, for example, if the prisoner has insufficient funds to pay for the call.
The facility initiating the call will pay costs at the facility. The family or prisoner must meet the costs of any charge imposed by the approved community site.
All contact with a prisoner via a video-conference must be booked in advance. Applicants for family video-conferencing must be advised of the dress and behaviour requirements of the facility at the time the booking is made (refer appendix - Appropriate Dress Standards). They should also be advised that they may be asked for identification when they report to the approved community site to receive the call.
Any person wishing to initiate a video-conference must contact the corrective services facility during business hours to book the video-conference. The general manager may make provisions for permanent bookings.
At the commencement of the family video-conference call, prisoners and family members must be advised that the video-conference may be recorded or monitored in accordance with CSA s. 52.
Refer standard operating procedure - Storage and Disposal of Audio and Video Recordings Used for Monitoring Purposes
Video-conference calls may be terminated for reasons including, but not limited to-
Acting Deputy Commissioner, Custodial Operations
13/07/2012 Version 01