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Crime Victims Fighting Prisoner's Parole Through Video Conferencing

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FAYETTEVILLE — Victims of crime can now fight a prisoner's parole through a video screen. Members of the Parole Commission are now able to talk to crime victims in five cities through video conferences. The latest fiber optic link went up today in Pembroke. As WRAL's Melissa Buscher reports, the new service is expected to save time and money.

Not a day goes by that Colleen Kemp does not think about her older sister. On the UNC-Pembroke campus today, she fought to keep her sisters killer behind bars.

In the past, Colleen had to travel to the Parole Commission in Raleigh to testify. But now she can accomplish the same thing at this video conference, closer to home.

Listen toauorRealAudiofiles."To me it had the same impact, we listened, they asked questions. We gave our opinion, they still understand what we are going through."Parole Commissioner Charles Mann was able to conduct the hearings via fiber optic link. The commissioner says the information highway allows families to stay off the highway to fight a prisoners parole."They don't have to miss a days work to drive to Raleigh, its convenient for victims."And instead of testifying across the table to a parole commissioner, officials say crime victims are more at ease telling their story through the video screen.

Crime victims like Colleen Kemp appreciate the accessibility of this video conference.

Listen toauorRealAudiofiles."He took our whole families life, to have him do less than 45 years is just not right."But she says she would travel any amount of distance to try and keep her sisters killer from getting out of jail.

In the past year, more than 150 video conferences have been held statewide. The Parole Commission estimates crime victims have saved 430 work hours and 34,000 miles traveling to Raleigh.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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