1. proslaws's Avatar
    Okay iMore Nation.... you are the best collective brain-trust out there for stuff like this... so I'm hoping you have ideas....

    I'm a defense attorney. Everyone hates 'em until they need one. Some of the people who need me are in jail. One of the biggest pains in the butt for defense attorneys is running to the jail (or various jails) to meet with clients who are "in-custody". Some jails allow "video visits" where you show up at the jail and they seat you in a cubicle and the guard calls up to whatever labyrinthine floor of the jail your client is on and tells the guard on that unit that the client has a video-visit... the client sits down and has a camera on him and they connect you via a phone handset so that you can see and hear your client.

    What I would like to do is go one step further.... I'd like to be able to do
    "video visits" from my office. If we (and maybe a bunch of defense attorneys in a co-op style agreement) who have iPads (or Mac's or iPhones, for that matter) could purchase iPads for the various floors of the jail, and somehow secure them, we could save a TON of time and also improve responsiveness to clients who are in-custody and often feel (and in fact, are) cut-off from the outside world and their legal service providers. Now, obviously, there are security issues here.... you can't just hand a defendant an iPad and say "knock yourself out"... they'll start surfing the web and use FaceTime to call people they're not supposed to, etc. They also sometimes do NOT like what their attorney is telling them, so there's the possibility that they could get pi**ed off and slam the iPad around or even try to destroy it. What we need is a case such that corrections staff could just press the "accept" or "answer" button and then lock it back up so that the client couldn't manipulate it... just talk to the caller that the corrections staff allows. So it has to be able to be locked up and secure and also protect the iPad from angry clients trying to damage it.

    If anyone has brilliant ideas about how this could work, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks!
    04-18-2012 09:50 PM
  2. Alli's Avatar
    Sounds like a great idea. Your sticking point will be your DoC because even if you gift them an iPad, they will have to secure it and provide a place to use it. A small, secure room would be necessary where the iPad could be wall mounted once an incoming call has been accepted.

    Good luck!
    04-19-2012 10:02 AM
  3. Helvitis's Avatar
    I'm in law enforcement, I can tell you that unless you are in some small community this will not fly. People in government facilities are paranoid, no one is going to want to be responsible for this. They already have a lot of things to worry about securing, let alone the private property of a group of defense attorneys.
    04-19-2012 02:35 PM
  4. Peligro911's Avatar
    Hmm if you got it to fly with guards etc .. I would say use restrictions .. Disable YouTube app store .. iMessage etc ..
    Only set attorney in the contact list for FaceTime by email .. The device will have to have a email address but you can restrict that as well ..

    Your best bet would be to have a app made to only allows incoming FaceTime interface with certain contacts that can be authorized .. And that disables the home button from app killing and multitasking but uses the home button to accept the call

    Next secure the iPad in a 2 piece plastic mold only will a hole for the home button or a rubber button that's presses the home button you could even choose to seal it so spit etc don't get it and between the plastic use spacers to protect it from punches to the plastic ..

    That's just how I would do it if allowed to do so


    Sent Into Orbit from my iPhone 4S using Tapatalk
    04-19-2012 04:09 PM
  5. proslaws's Avatar
    Hmm if you got it to fly with guards etc .. I would say use restrictions .. Disable YouTube app store .. iMessage etc ..
    Only set attorney in the contact list for FaceTime by email .. The device will have to have a email address but you can restrict that as well ..

    Your best bet would be to have a app made to only allows incoming FaceTime interface with certain contacts that can be authorized .. And that disables the home button from app killing and multitasking but uses the home button to accept the call

    Next secure the iPad in a 2 piece plastic mold only will a hole for the home button or a rubber button that's presses the home button you could even choose to seal it so spit etc don't get it and between the plastic use spacers to protect it from punches to the plastic ..

    That's just how I would do it if allowed to do so


    Sent Into Orbit from my iPhone 4S using Tapatalk
    Yeah... I'm liking this... it DOES need to be mobile rather than being wall-mounted so the inmate can be in a holding cell or their cell in their pod. The security features that you're talking about (being able to disable all that stuff so that literally ALL they can do is answer an incoming FaceTime with the home button) would be huge, so that the attorney could call the pod and get approved to dial in... the DOC person presses the home button to accept and then hands them the bubble-wrapped, plexiglass-encrusted, Ghost Armored, hermetically sealed iPad for their "video visit". I totally get what Helvitis is saying though... it's tough to work out the administrative issues. The thing is that there have been lots of cities that have been SUED because their public defenders haven't met with city clients held in custody at the jail. Gotta think creatively and try to use any techno-advantage possible to enhance communication... and the cool thing is... one iPad there in the jail could be used by ANY approved attorney, even if they're in the next county over.... so it would be potentially a HUGE benefit... surely there's GOT to be grant money out there for something like this?? Anyone? Anyone? Beuler?
    04-19-2012 08:50 PM
  6. Rocket_Girl's Avatar
    Yeah... I'm liking this... it DOES need to be mobile rather than being wall-mounted so the inmate can be in a holding cell or their cell in their pod. The security features that you're talking about (being able to disable all that stuff so that literally ALL they can do is answer an incoming FaceTime with the home button) would be huge, so that the attorney could call the pod and get approved to dial in... the DOC person presses the home button to accept and then hands them the bubble-wrapped, plexiglass-encrusted, Ghost Armored, hermetically sealed iPad for their "video visit". I totally get what Helvitis is saying though... it's tough to work out the administrative issues. The thing is that there have been lots of cities that have been SUED because their public defenders haven't met with city clients held in custody at the jail. Gotta think creatively and try to use any techno-advantage possible to enhance communication... and the cool thing is... one iPad there in the jail could be used by ANY approved attorney, even if they're in the next county over.... so it would be potentially a HUGE benefit... surely there's GOT to be grant money out there for something like this?? Anyone? Anyone? Beuler?
    There should be some promise here, but 'pilot programs' can get funded for things like this (county? state? professional organizations for law? Politically, if you can ally with the DA's office and public defenders, you would have 1) more support, and 2) support on the public side in your [regional entity].

    You could start with particularly vulnerable clients (i.e.: juveniles) and in the context of family court (not where you spend most of your time, I know...) - if it could potentially increase communication opportunities or decrease *disparities* in communication opportunities, you would have a rationale. If you represent clients who are in mental health facilities rather than prisons, that could be another place to start, with same rationale.

    It would need to be a special-purpose, locked-down device - to limit potential misuse by guards as much or more than clients: it matters where the thing sits when NOT in use for a video visit.

    So, allies on public side (imagine how this could help DA's office & overworked. underpaid public defenders...) and a genius intern who could work on a technical prototype (or engineer the concepts to be translated into a working prototype)., and you could have a compelling proposal for a pilot program grant.

    I do this sort of thing in health care (start small, test, evaluate, modify, repeat with larger sample . . . build evidence base (prove that benefits are worth it and that limitations do not harm anyone), then disseminate more broadly . . . so you're talking years rather than months to put something like this in place. If you can demonstrate efficacy and efficiency, then (as you know since this is your area), policy and financial infrastructure have to change to both allow and support this as a new status quo. If you want to make this your pro bono cause for several years, cool. If that's not for you, its a cool idea - someone should take it up!
    04-22-2012 08:40 AM
  7. Tanbam's Avatar
    Surely if you are able to do video conferencing from the comfort of your office, you could discount your services a great deal, correct?

    I'd just try to play devil's advocate (pun not intended!) and say that getting an iPad for this would be overkill. Why would you want to use such an expensive piece of equipment which has WAY too much capability for such a simple application? If all you need is a secure, dedicated two-way video, there are much cheaper and safer ways to do it.

    If you want to put wireless-enabled iPads into a prisoner's cell, you would have to post a guard immediatly outside the cell, which would kind of violate the confidentiality of the meeting. If there isn't a guard, it would quickly vanish, or the sim card would get swollowed, or a shank would be made out of the glass, etc.

    I'm sure you might be able to find some judges who might be up to Facetime in the courtroom, though! I'd definitely be up to serving my next jury duty via my iPad...
    04-23-2012 09:34 AM
  8. pkcable's Avatar
    You might have better luck with an app that would connect to their existing video equipment. This way the lawyer could use an ipad, or computer and remote in to the facility.
    04-23-2012 11:31 AM
  9. jcop's Avatar
    The county jail where I live is going to start a beta test for Skype soon. If all goes well more jails will be added.
    04-28-2012 10:25 PM
  10. proslaws's Avatar
    There should be some promise here, but 'pilot programs' can get funded for things like this (county? state? professional organizations for law? Politically, if you can ally with the DA's office and public defenders, you would have 1) more support, and 2) support on the public side in your [regional entity].

    You could start with particularly vulnerable clients (i.e.: juveniles) and in the context of family court (not where you spend most of your time, I know...) - if it could potentially increase communication opportunities or decrease *disparities* in communication opportunities, you would have a rationale. If you represent clients who are in mental health facilities rather than prisons, that could be another place to start, with same rationale.

    It would need to be a special-purpose, locked-down device - to limit potential misuse by guards as much or more than clients: it matters where the thing sits when NOT in use for a video visit.

    So, allies on public side (imagine how this could help DA's office & overworked. underpaid public defenders...) and a genius intern who could work on a technical prototype (or engineer the concepts to be translated into a working prototype)., and you could have a compelling proposal for a pilot program grant.

    I do this sort of thing in health care (start small, test, evaluate, modify, repeat with larger sample . . . build evidence base (prove that benefits are worth it and that limitations do not harm anyone), then disseminate more broadly . . . so you're talking years rather than months to put something like this in place. If you can demonstrate efficacy and efficiency, then (as you know since this is your area), policy and financial infrastructure have to change to both allow and support this as a new status quo. If you want to make this your pro bono cause for several years, cool. If that's not for you, its a cool idea - someone should take it up!
    Good ideas.... I'm seeing a lot of good stuff in all of these posts. I know that an iPad may be overkill... But consider the cost of other systems already in use.... (see this article, for example Plan calls for inmate visits to move to video screens - Houston Chronicle ) many systems cost $5,000 or more and are static and can't be moved. The whole idea of this system I'm thinking of would be that it DOESN't have to stay bolted to the wall in one place.

    Obviously not ALL inmates would qualify to use this kind of system. Particularly dangerous types or known & nefarious troublemakers wouldn't be able to. Surely a reasonably secure, safe case can be developed that would keep it from being able to be easily destroyed, but would allow it to be moved from cell to cell and useable with different inmates.

    Wouldn't have to be an iPad, either. iPod touch would work as well.
    05-12-2012 01:40 PM
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