Simply because someone has commited a criminal offence does not mean the state has the right to deny the individual of their human rights.
The fact that the "clients did not want to be named due to concerns that links with a prison could hurt their business," is indicative of a wider issue. If the conduct of the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises is adherring to human rights and proper treatment of inmates then surely the clients have nothing to fear.
Is the policy put in place to make money for Changi prison or rehabilitate offenders? What evidence is there that working 12 hours a day as a telemarketer will rehabilitate?
Questions need to be answered.
24 August 2005
SINGAPORE - Female inmates at a Singapore prison are working 12-hour shifts as telephone call-center operators and telemarketers in a state campaign to rehabilitate lawbreakers, an official said on Wednesday.
“It’s pretty much the same as a commercial call center, except it’s behind bars,” said Vincent Chan, a senior manager at the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises.
“It’s our way of upgrading the old prisons’ industries and enhancing the inmates’ employability,” Chan said.
He said the call center is a cubicle-filled room about the size of a basketball court at the Changi Women’s Prison and Drug Rehabilitation Center.
The duties of the 38 inmates working there include answering questions about prepaid mobile phone cards and consumer products, he said, adding that supervisors monitor the calls to make sure they are limited to business.
The operators are trained to speak clearly and to soothe difficult customers.
The call center operates around the clock and has 10 clients, including a telecommunications company, Chan said. Clients did not want to be named due to concerns that links with a prison could hurt their business.
Chan declined to say whether the prisoners are paid for their work, or to give any other details about the program’s finances.
“I was a workaholic before, and not having anything to do in jail made me feel down,” Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper quoted a 32-year-old operator, who identified herself as Aris, as saying. “Being in this program helped me to be myself once again because I feel useful.”