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Telemarketing Jobs Go to Jail

Fox News | April 4 2004

ONTARIO, Ore. — Rather than sending jobs to India or China, telemarketing firms are increasingly finding hired help in prisons.

There's been a national trend among the prison industry to target businesses that are moving some of their operations overseas, according to the Oregon Corrections Enterprise.

Businesses say the inmates make good, hard-working employees in an industry plagued by high turnover. The prisoners are never late, absent or on vacation — and do the job for only about $130 a month, or less than $1 an hour. Companies also don't have to offer them benefits.

For many inmates, it's a chance to redeem their dignity, become more responsible and change their criminal ways.

But critics of the practice warn that some prisoners have abused their access to personal information. In Washington state, for example, a jailed rapist harassed a woman with calls and cards.

Supporters say most of the criminals behind bars will eventually be back in society, so it makes sense to give them job skills.

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