Posted On September 2nd, 2013
There have been a number of news stories recently about call centres in prisons. Call centres in prisons are actually nothing new but over recent weeks, there have been several stories from here in The UK and abroad. The reporting of this has been highly negative but this will be nothing new for a call centre industry which has always been portrayed negatively. As a reporter of actual news, we thought we would let the true facts be knows:
(1) call centre agents in prisons don't have access to personal information. The type of work being outsourced is fairly low-end and call centre systems allow very limited access to data for agents.
(2) call centre agents in prison can't call who they want. The rules in prisons for outward communication are very restricted. Call centre agents don't have access to the internet and calls are generally handled by power dialling systems over which the call centre agents have no power.
(3) this kind of work is only done in low-security or open prisons. The work is done as part of a rehabilitation exercise and the workers are expected to be given some training to advance their skills on leaving prison.
Overall, the hype around call centres in prisons is quite ridiculous. There are some challenges in finding the right people and the way in which the technology has to be configured will make it unfeasible for some types of work. There are also some positives such a workforce who want to advance themselves and costs can be lower. Outsourcing within a prison isn't for everyone but it it does have some benefits.