Courts Minister Amy Adams says there were over 16,500 remand court appearances held via audio visual links (AVL) connecting courts and prisons in the year to May 2017.
She says this was about 27% up on "around 13,000" remand court appearances held via AVL the year before.
“There are now 21 courts hooked up to the AVL network, linked to 15 prisons throughout New Zealand," she says.
"In addition to these fully-serviced links, most district and higher courts have access to AVL-enabling equipment that can connect them to prisons or other custodial facilities, and allow victims or witnesses to give evidence remotely.”
Ms Adams says each appearance represents a prisoner who has not been escorted to court, placed in a holding cell, and then returned to prison.
“AVL not only frees up more time for other court business, it also improves public safety and reduces the potential opportunities for prisoners to escape or to introduce contraband."