Author Neil Donnelly
Published September 2018
Report Type Bureau Brief No. 137
Subject Costs of crime; Evaluation reports; Prisons and prisoners
Keywords Audio visual link, local courts, prison, program evaluation, time series analysis, legislative evaluation

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To measure the impact of new or upgraded audio visual links (AVL) in local courts on prison transport costs.


Monthly in-person (IP) and AVL appearance data for local courts were obtained from Corrective Services NSW. Local courts were classified into one of three groups according to their change in AVL access:

(1) received a new AVL facility;
(2) received separate AVL facilities having previously shared with another court, and;
(3) had extra AVL courtrooms added to their separate AVL access.

Intervention time series analyses were conducted for each court to test whether the change in AVL status resulted in a change in the level and/or trend of IP appearances. Where significant changes in IP appearances were found, transport costs avoided or incurred were estimated.


Among the nine local courts that had a new AVL facility installed, eight had a significant reduction in the number of IP appearances. In one local court the number of IP appearances increased, however the number of AVL appearances increased in this court as well. In total, the introduction of a new AVL facility resulted in 2,271 fewer IP appearances and $459,501 in prison transport costs avoided during the post-AVL follow-up period. Among the 12 local courts that received a separate AVL facility after previously sharing, six had significantly lower IP appearances. No change in IP appearances occurred at five of these local courts. In one local court, IP appearances increased, however there was also an increase in the number of AVL appearances in this case. In total the reduction in the number of IP appearances at these 12 local courts with separate AVL access was 1,140 and $230,790 in prison transport costs avoided during the post-AVL follow-up period. No significant reductions were found in IP appearances for the five Local Courts where extra or upgraded AVL courtrooms were added.


There were significant reductions in IP appearances and associated transport costs for local courts where new AVL facilities were installed.

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