Canadian Official Feels Heat Over Prison Telemarketing

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Solicitor General Lawrence MacAulay, head of Canada's national law enforcement and prison services, was in hot water Friday as members of Parliament, spurred by a trade group report, skewered him over the use of prison inmate telemarketers.

The Canadian Survey Research Council, which represents market and survey research professionals and companies, urged MacAulay to end the use of inmates as telemarketers. It cited government documents showing that Correctional Services Canada, the national prison bureau under MacAulay's purview, planned to set up more prison call centers.

The risks of inmates obtaining personal information about consumers while engaged in telemarketing outweigh the rehabilitative benefits of putting inmates to work, the group said.

There are two prison call centers in Canada, both in Ontario. When members of Parliament's House of Commons questioned MacAulay over the practice, he responded that inmates are screened before being allowed to enter the program and are not given access to personal information about consumers, Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper reported.

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