Prison video links

Many prisons are now using state-of-the-art video systems to link to Crown and Magistrate courts. Prison Video Links (PVLs) allow offenders to appear in court via a live video link from prison.

PVLs are primarily used for court hearings and legal visits, but they can also be used for a number of other purposes such as probation and official visits, inter-prison visits and staff training.

There are many benefits of video linking including:

  • protection of witnesses and victims in court
  • improved security
  • financial savings
  • care for vulnerable prisoners
  • less disruption of prison regime
  • reduction of escape risk
  • reduction of drugs/weapons risk

The technology required to establish a video link is relatively simple. A screen and camera with a microphone are installed at each location. An ISDN (high-speed) telephone line is used to transmit the sound and pictures electronically between the locations.

PVLs can also be used to electronically present evidence such as original papers and documents. Offensive and dangerous weapons can be shown by video or CD-Rom to prevent people from having to handle them and possibly be injured.

 In England and Wales there are currently 58 prisons linked up to 32 Crown Courts and 153 Magistrate Courts. In the future, video links may be extended to additional Courts, Prisons and other Government departments, authorities and agencies.

 For more information, please contact:

Diane Thomson      

Unit 2, The Office Village, Forder Way
Hampton, Peterborough
PE7 8GX
Tel: 01733 443172
Fax 01733 443101

Email: diane.thomson@hmps.gsi.gov.uk

HM Prison Service

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