The Supreme Court’s use of video conferencing in preliminary arraignments and other proceeding is saving $21 million each year, according to a statement released by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC)
The survey, conducted by the AOPC’s Office of Judicial Security, found that on average more than 15,700 proceedings are held via video conferencing each month, saving the state’s magisterial district and Common Pleas courts an estimated $1.7 million monthly or a cumulative cost savings of more than $21 million annually. Philadelphia and Delaware counties reported the highest monthly savings of $550,000 and $271,000, respectively. Fifty-six of the state’s 60 judicial districts responded to the survey.
Of the total projected annual savings, 43 percent, or more than $9 million, is a direct result of the 488 video conferencing units installed by the AOPC over the last three years at a cost of $4.2 million from a budget appropriations item, according to the statement.
“Counties particularly are getting a great return on the investment of state tax dollars by saving tens of millions of dollars at the local level,” Chief Justice Ronald J. Castille said. The cost to transport defendants to and from Pennsylvania’s court is paid for by counties.