January 2014 Bar Bulletin
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Law Library Offers New Service to Prisoners' Families


The Public Law Library is a recent recipient of a cy-près award from the settlement of Judd v. American Telephone & Telegraph Co. The case alleged that defendants failed to provide proper disclosures for collect telephone calls from Washington prisons.

The Law Library was awarded $11,000 to install video-conferencing equipment to allow families to communicate with their incarcerated relatives. The Washington State Department of Corrections, in partnership with JPay, allows families to communicate with their relatives through a connection on the Internet. This requires the families to have a webcam, a computer with capacity to stream video, and sound capability. Each 30-minute session costs $12.50. Many families do not have a computer at home or one with sufficient capacity to take advantage of this service.

When the service is up and running, family members may come to the library and schedule an appointment through JPay to visit with their relative. At the appointed time, the family members will come back to the library for their visit, using the library's flat-screen monitor and computing system.

"Why is the Law Library involved in such a project?" you may ask. We know that families of incarcerated persons are usually involved in more than one legal matter in any given year. They may be faced with issues such as divorce, child support and child custody. Once the family members are in the library, we will be able to provide them with information that may address their legal needs or refer them to other services that provide assistance.

We will announce this service on our website when it is available.


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