Contact Centers to be Outsourced to India Prisoners
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
You've heard of call centers being outsourced to India. Perhaps you've even heard of the practice of outsourcing contact centers to prisons. Next stop? Combining the two and outsourcing contact centers to India prisoners. Need to check the balance on your credit card? A man chained to his desk, serving a life sentence for murder, will be happy to help you, according to British newspaper The Guardian.
A new scheme at the Cherlapalli high-security prison facility near Hyderabad is in its early stages yet, according to the Guardian, with prisoners being trained in basic data entry skills. In many cases, it's not necessary, as the prison houses a number of computer professionals.
“We have got so many computer literates and professionals in our prison,” Gopinath Reddy, director general of prisons in the state of Andhra Pradesh, told the Guardian. “So far they are not being fully recognized, but now their knowledge will be utilized for the nation and when they go out they can also lead a meaningful life.”
There are a number of problems to be solved before the facility can begin taking calls for customers, either companies in India or abroad: current regulations do not allow Internet or phone access to prisoners. But the prison appears confident that the plans will bear fruit: it has already hired Mohan Menon, a software specialist, to lay the groundwork, and he is confident that the plan will take off.
“Definitely we will get orders,” said Mr. Menon. He is starting at a basic level with his new pupils, writing on the board for them, “Skills of communication: KISS, Keep It Simple and Short.”
Hyderabad is one of India's biggest centers of business process outsourcing, a £15 billion ($24.2 billion) industry in which many global firms subcontract key functions to local companies, notes the Guardian. Other prison facilities in India are closely watching the experiment to see if it will succeed and can be replicated elsewhere.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications & technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2011, taking place Feb 2-4, 2011, in Miami. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.
Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf