01 August 1997

'You are hereby sentenced to six months hard telemarketing'. This could be a future punishment handed out to felons by judges and magistrates if a new pilot scheme at Styal women's prison in Wilmslow, Cheshire is successful. At least ten inmates have recently passed national vocational qualifications in teleworking, and the innovative clink hopes to pitch for outside commercial business once security issues have been resolved. Funded by a £100,000 grant from the Home Office, the Styal call centre is used to help rehabilitate prisoners and offset the £420-a-week cost of incarcerating an inmate. The unit runs twelve computers and has already been used to provide a mailing list for a national charity and a database for a government department.