Prisons vs Indian Call Centres
By Indo - Asian
18 July, 2004
is brewing for Indian call centres from an unlikely source, American
The private sector
in the US is reported to be trying to capitalise on the fact that the
country has the world's highest incarcerations rates.
benefit from wages as low as or lower than in popular outsourcing countries
such as the Philippines or India, they do not attract the adverse media
attention of jobs being exported.
Prisoners in the
US have always been made to pay, its 2.1 million jailbirds produce an
estimated $1.5 billion (830 million pounds) in goods and services.
Now several prisoners
are being employed to take up call centre jobs.
More than 150 inmates in a Virginia prison build car parts for the automotive
industry while elsewhere other inmates make circuit boards, furniture,
limousines, waterbeds and even lingerie.
Now 12 states have
reportedly ventured beyond the traditional goods into the service industry
with a head-on challenge to foreign call centres.
Compared with the
average national salary of $36,750 (19,750 pounds) a year, or about
$3,000 a month, prisoners are typically paid between $120 and $185 a
month for a 40-hour call centre working week.
Inmates must have
between three and five years left on their sentences to qualify for
the jobs, which are highly coveted. The staff turnover rate at an average
"outside" call centre is 33 percent.
randomly monitor inmates' telephone conversations and calls are digitally
recorded to discourage abuse and illegal activities.