Philippines eyeing prison call centers

Philippines eyeing prison call centers

Summary: Inmates may soon work as operators, thanks to an initiative to help convicts get a better chance in reintegrating back into society and finding employment.


The Philippines is launching an initiative that could soon see call centers being set up in prisons and run by inmates.

The move is a program, dubbed BILIB I.T., that aims to give convicts new skills to raise their chances of employment and reintegrating back into society upon release, according to the Inquirer Tuesday.

"We’ll see if we can try building call centers inside jail facilities to help these detainees utilize their training and gain employment," said senator Alan Peter Cayetano in the article.

Scholarships for IT courses would be awarded to qualified inmates, according to Cayetano, to least 200 inmates initially with plans to double the number.

Among the courses to be offered are Basic IT, Adobe Photoshop, computer hardware servicing and a finishing course for call center agents, which would include English proficiency and web design, noted the Inquirer.

The senator played down security concerns and cited a similar program in the United States where "inmates do call center work for nonsensitive matters".

According to Cayetano, those who might be part of the program include people who have served their sentence but prefer to live inside the penal community due to lack of skills necessary to rejoin the work force, detainees who have minimum security, and those inmates with sentences not longer than six years.


Topics: IT Employment, Outsourcing, Unified Comms, Philippines, Tech Industry


Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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  • Yeah -- great idea

    It's been tried in the US with not-so-good results. What's to stop people from occasionally asking sensitive information such as a password or PIN or telling the person they can call someone else for additional help? Monitoring doesn't really help. It's not like the day the center opens every convict is going to immediately start running cons. Once "everything seems to be working", the overseers will just naturally become more lax.

    Regarding training in web design, Photoshop, and similar skills, such programs are quite rare in the U.S. Where those programs do exist they basically cut the recividism rate to almost zero. Although the person leaves with a narrow range of skills, the skill is in high demand and pays well.
  • Don't like it...

    The practice of "farming out" prison labor provides a financial incentive to keep incarceration rates high. Able bodied prison inmates should definitely work, but they should be serving each other and the general public, not private employers.

    That and the quality of tech support from Filipino call centers is low enough as it is.
    John L. Ries
    • Re: provides a financial incentive to keep incarceration rates high.

      Which country has a higher incarceration rate: the USA or the Philippines?