Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

Audio-Visual Link Cuts Court Costs

Full report: The impact of audio visual links (AVL) in courtrooms on prison transport costs (pdf 553Kb)

Release date: 10.30am Monday, 22 October, 2018

The introduction of new audio-visual link (AVL) facilities in NSW courtrooms has resulted in an estimated $459,501 in avoided prison transport costs.

The installation of separate AVL facilities in courts that previously shared AVL facilities resulted in a further $230,790 in additional avoided transport costs.

AVL facilities in local courts enable defendants in custody (either because they have been bail refused or imprisoned for a previous offence) to appear before the court via a video link.

Prior to the introduction of AVL, defendants had to be transported from prison to court, sometimes over long distances. AVL avoids this and thereby produces substantial savings in transport costs.

The avoided cost estimates were obtained by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) by comparing trends in the number of in-person court appearances before and after the introduction or upgrading of AVL facilities.

This information was then combined with data on the cost of transporting prisoners to court in order to estimate the savings obtained. The BOCSAR analysis controlled for pre-existing trends in the number of in-person court appearances.

Between April 2015 and March 2017 AVL was introduced into 13 NSW local courts that did not previously have access to these facilities.

New AVL facilities were installed in local courts at Newtown, Queanbeyan, Fairfield, Katoomba and Toronto in mid-2015, Bega Local Court in October 2015 and Inverell, Lithgow, Gunnedah and Young Local Courts in mid-2016.

Local courts at Kempsey and Ballina had AVL installed in late 2016 and Moss Vale had AVL installed in March 2017.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 02 8346 1100
Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au