Ok I am going to start this blog with a bit of a quiz. Look at the picture below and try to guess who you think is in the photo and where you think it is taken.
|people working in an office?|
Ok times up. Some of the people in the photo are infact inmates being held at HMP Wolds, which is a prison just south of York.
WTF. you may be crying and you would be right. this is exactly what I thought when I heard about this whole thing, to give you the whole story I am going to start from the beginning.
Where it all Began.
So there I was just going about my business when I got a call from a recruitment agency about some business analyst contract work in Yorkshire, so I said yeah that sounds like something I would do, so they emailed over the details.
Now normally at this point I get some job specs and information on who the job is for, and on this occasion there was nothing out of the normal I got the email containing the job specs and the name and web address of the company in question. So I did what I normally do and took a look online at the company’s website.
On my arrival at the company’s website I was shocked to find that the company specialises in everything from affiliate marketing to online consulting and has done this for some of our major household brands, including Argos, TopShop and 3.
So What You Might be Saying.
Well, and this will shock you. This company actually uses convicted criminals to do this work, granted only a small portion of the 100+ staff are actually convicted criminals, but the fact that any of the staff are convicts is absolutely appalling.
So How Does This Firm Work
The way the firm operates is that it takes convicted criminals, normally ones who have been given long sentences, which normally means they have committed serious crimes in the first place, and gets these people to work for the company as part of a so called rehabiliation program. The work they do can be anything from working directly with clients, developing internet marketing strategies to anything else you can think of that happens in a typical new media marketing firm.
There is a list as long as your arm for inmates wanting to work there, as unlike other inmates who have to do manual labour as part of their punishment, these people actually get to work for an IT firm gaining free education and in reality rather than spend say 10 years in prison are actually spending 10 years gaining experience working in an IT firm, so on release they can claim to having 10 years experience rather than simply saying they have been in prision for 10 years.
Now to me this is so messed up, as we have graduates who are leaving universities and colleges with qualifications and unable to find a job, and you would think that this firm is using people who already have some form of IT experience or qulaifications and you would be wrong, as stated by Managing Director – Hedley Aylott
“We’re looking for people with the right attitude, for those who really put themselves out and are highly motivated. We don’t necessarily choose people for how much they know.”
So they are not only using convicted criminals, but convicted criminals who do not have any skills or experience in either IT or the internet.
Now to add insult to what is already a whole load of crap, the company actually has an office in Prague, while you may be thinking so what. Well this division was set up by Tomas Honz, who back in 1996 was convicted of heroin smuggling and convicted to 26 years in prison, and yes he did not serve 26 years. During his time in prison he worked with this firm, gained an Open University Degree and after being released early he was deported back to Prague where he setup the company’s Prague office. He is now one of the senior members of the company working as its Technical Director. No wonder on the company’s website he states he has been to every European country as he worked as a coach driver when he was convicted of drug smuggling.
For the full story on this pillar of society go to http://www.independent.co.uk/news/turkish-gang-jailed-for-heroin-smuggling-1307866.html
The company is doing so well that it has moved its head office out of the prison to a farm just up the road, and again it still employs convicts at this location. So each day these convicted criminals go to work at the head office and travel back to the prison in the evening, its almost like they are just being given somewhere to live for free by the government, although the place they have been given to stay in comes with additional facilities such as gyms, pool tables, fitness equipment, games consoles, etc.
So What Would I Do
I have read loads of articles online about this company, and the main emphasis seems to be on the lines of the firm getting cheap labour and it being unfair on the prisoners, this to me is way off the mark and infact just total crap.
Firstly you should not get anything for being in prison, but you should be made to work to repay your debt to society, infact inmates get paid between £10-35 per week for working whilst in prison.
The solution is simple STOP REWARDING PEOPLE FOR BAD BEHAVIOUR if someone commits a crime and is given a custodial sentence they should be punished, so they dont want to do crime again and end up back in prison. I do not believe in giving inmates training, skills, education as a means to stop reoffending, as due to the current easy life convicts get they are happy to reoffend, in order to get back to having a TV, Playstation etc all of which you need to earn in the outside world.
I strongly believe that if we went back to the Victorian style of prison cell, people would not be so quick to reoffend.
|Courtesy of http://blog.travelpod.com/|
I simply think that the solution is actually in giving shorter sentences, but with much harsher prisons, so rather than giving people free stuff for being in prison, they should be punished and dont want to go back.
So with the economy in the toilet and the government putting up university fees, people are finding it harder and harder to get a start in life, and where as in the outside world if you want to get employed your have to find the job yourself, or pay for your own education. The convicted criminals in our prisons rather than being punished are rewarded, and not only by having shorter sentences, but when they are convicted and given a custodial sentence they get education, including being offered Open University degrees that would cost £5000 per year in the outside world, the chance to work in an IT and sleep in cells.
Sleeping in cells sounds bad until you realise that in prison you even get provided with items such as games consoles, TV’s, etc again all of which if you want in the outside world you have to work for and buy yourself, especially given that in order to have a TV you need a license for it.
|UK prisoner Playing on Playstation in Cell|
The above image is taken from http://www.switched.com/2008/08/07/u-k-tax-payers-buying-playstations-for-prisoners/ another great article about how messed up the UK prison system is.
I just think that in order to fix this broken economy we need to start helping the people who want to help themselves, not make honest hard working people bust a gut in order to get any help at all, such as Cait Reilly who the government is forcing to do unpaid work for two weeks in order to keep her Job Seekers Allowance – http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4055197/Graduate-Cait-Reilly-legal-action-against-Government-over-allegedly-being-made-to-stack-shelves-in-Poundland.html
Thanks for reading my blog about the stupid practices of the british government, we need to fix this broken economy and we need to do it fast.