In Orange County, Fl.’s new courtroom at the county jail, there are no windows and the witness stand is more like a box — encased by bulletproof glass, says the Orlando Sentinel. The first jail courtroom debuted this summer and another will be unveiled next month. The courtrooms are opening at a critical time, as violent crime and murder rates are rising, and cops are cracking down and making more arrests. “I think the courtrooms at the jail are very efficient and very effective,” said Chief Judge Belvin Perry. “It’s a way to quickly process people where they are and save costs on transportation.” More than 4,000 violation of probation cases will be heard in the jail courtrooms.
In the past, inmates were driven to the downtown courthouse, where the judge who sentenced them to probation would squeeze in their cases between trials. Now, inmates walk to a fourth-floor courtroom — just steps from the dorms that house them while they’re locked up. For years, Orange County has tried to ease jail crowding. At one point, officials found that some people charged with misdemeanors spent more time in jail waiting for hearings than they would if they were sentenced for the crimes.