AV Systems in Justice Buildings

courtroomAV-0713Audiovisual is often considered a business critical technology. AV systems can impact the performance of a building and benefit the health, safety, welfare and productivity of building occupants. In justice buildings and courtrooms, a properly functioning AV system is crucial.

The American Institute of Architects Academy of Architect for Justice (AIA/AAJ) is an organization dedicated to the design of justice facilities. Some architectural firms specialize on the design discipline of justice buildings. Designers in these firms have come to understand that AV plays an important role in courthouses.

Today’s litigators are finding that courtrooms are much different than they were a decade ago. Buzzwords such as e-courtrooms and wired courtrooms are being used to describe these high-tech facilities. Detention and correctional facilities, police stations, probation and parole offices and other areas in justice buildings such as jury deliberation rooms, holding cells, public areas, jury assembly rooms and training spaces can all incorporate beneficial AV systems. Microphones, display devices, videoconferencing systems, security cameras, digital video recorders, assisted listening devices, visual presenters and audio systems are all routinely found in these spaces.

The proper function of these systems can literally be a matter of life and death in some circumstances. The way a juror interprets a defendant on a video screen can influence that juror. Clear video and intelligible audio is extremely important during a trial. The products themselves, microphones for example, need to be permanently installed so they can’t be removed and used as a weapon. Installed devices need to be vandal-proof as well.

Lawyers, judges, court administrators and other legal staffers are being required to be tech-savvy these days. The Center for Legal and Court Technology, located in Williamsburg, Va., is an organization that is helping to educate the next generation of courtroom personnel. Today’s technology-rich justice facilities are an example of how AV systems have now become standard within the built environment.