News : UK Prison Sets Up Inmate MR Call Centre
Oct 21 2014 -- A call centre has been set up at HMP High Down Prison in Surrey, where up to twenty inmates will gather information from the general public for market research purposes.
The call centre initiative is being run by private outsourcing firm Census Data Group Limited, which offers a service to reduce reoffender rates by providing opportunities for prisoners to gain education, experience and ultimately employment in the call centre industry - both in the prison environment and then upon release.
At High Down, calls to members of the public are made externally and then put through to the prisoners, who do not have access to telephone numbers or any personal information about those they are speaking to. According to sources, inmates are thoroughly risk assessed before taking part, and are monitored during the calls. Each earns about £9.80 a week for their participation in the scheme.
Ian Bickers, High Down’s Governor, explained: ‘We are committed to providing prisoners with real work opportunities to help them turn away from crime. This project with Census Data Group allows prisoners to develop vital skills, and complements the exciting programmes we have at the prison.’
Last autumn, it emerged that prisoners at HMP Oakwood near Wolverhampton and Drake Hall in Staffordshire were being paid to carry out market research on behalf of insurance companies - a move which The Centre for Crime Prevention described as 'incredibly naïve'.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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