Dutch planning dial-a-jail network

21st October 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 October 2005, AMSTERDAM — A plan by justice officials to establish commercial call centres in jails in the Netherlands was greeted with scepticism on Friday.

21 October 2005

AMSTERDAM — A plan by justice officials to establish commercial call centres in jails in the Netherlands was greeted with scepticism on Friday.

WGCC, the Dutch association of call centres, said the plan was totally unacceptable. "We advise our members and companies not to offer any services via prisoners," WGCC spokesman Herman Nieuwenhuis told newspaper 'De Telegraaf'. "Certainly not in relation to insurance policies, such as fire and theft coverage."

The newspaper reported justice officials are investigating whether prisoners could sell all manner of products and services over the phone. Negotiations have begun with companies, and the prisons section of the justice ministry wants to launch its call centre network in Nieuwersluis jail in Utrecht and the prison in Zwolle.

Special work areas will be established within prisons for the call centre inmates. The 'call centre agents' will be chosen on the basic of education and knowledge from prisoners who have been assigned other duties as part of their rehabilitation therapy. A training programme will also be established to get other prisoners involved.

But Nieuwenhuis said it was inappropriate for the Ministry for Justice to become involved in the market for professional call centres.

"During every phone conversation with a call centre agent, consumers will be asking themselves if they have a child rapist, murderer or burglar on the other end of the line. That just isn't on," he said.

The association warned the plan could cause seriously financial damage within the call centre sector. "The image of the professional call centre agent will also be damaged by this at a time when the sector is working hard in relation to the training and professional character of the business," Nieuwenhuis said.

The WGCC said it did not expect the business community will rush to sign up with a low-cost and jail-based call centre.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news 

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