The world looked on with bemusement in May 2010 when Cherlapally Central Jail in Hyderabad, India, announced that it would be putting inmates to work in its very own business process outsourcing unit.
The plan was set up in partnership with IT services company Radiant Info Systems, which offered to supply the technical infrastructure and the training, while the jail would supply the labour and the office space. The idea was that local IT companies would subcontract their work to the prisoners.
Full marks for entrepreneurialism, but according to a report on India’s expressbuzz website, the unit has yet to receive any business. “We don’t know when IT companies will come forward to give work orders to the BPO unit, but we are ready,” said prison superintendent KC Srinivas Rao.
They may have to wait some time. The fear of data or intellectual property theft is something that prevents many organisations from making use of offshore outsourcing resources. It is hardly surprising that the prospect of allowing convicted criminals to handle customer information has not yet proved popular.