Inside Job: Cheery voices from behind bars

Cheery voices from behind bars

Prisoners have long earned their daily bread. In the 19th century, convicts at Sing Sing worked as blacksmiths and carpenters. More recently, inmates have manufactured license plates and toiled on chain gangs performing road repairs. Now, though, increasing numbers of prisoners are taking on a more refined line of work: answering telephone inquiries for corporate and government employers.

In New York City, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has for the past two months been channeling calls to a room in the Bayview Correctional Facility, a medium-security women's prison. The cheery voice that says, "Hello. May I help you?"...

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