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Convict Pradeep Deburma (left) and a fellow inmate of Cherlapalli jail operate computers as part of their training.

The next time you get an Indian talking from a call center on your customer service call, don’t get too upset. Instead, have pity as your counterpart may soon be talking from jail!

For a man serving a life sentence for murder, Pradeep Deburma has a slightly unlikely dream: to work in a call centre like hundreds of thousands of other young ambitious Indians. Even more improbably, he has every chance of realising it while still behind bars…


Deburma, 24, is detained in a high-security prison near Hyderabad which is launching an innovative scheme to turn convicts into “outsourcing providers” for local firms and eventually, it is hoped, international clients.

The scheme is in its early stages, with prisoners being trained in basic data entry skills. Jail authorities hope that inmates will soon be just as likely to tap at a keyboard as dig vegetables, make carpets or stitch uniforms.

“We have got so many computer literates and professionals in our prison,” said Gopinath Reddy, director general of prisons in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Talk about being chained to the desk! Jason Burke of The Guardian has more: Link

Photograph: Jason Burke

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