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Utah to End Inmate Telemarketing Program

The Utah Department of Corrections will disband a telemarketing program in which inmates were paid to work in a call center, after an inmate reportedly abused his job to initiate correspondence with at least two teen-aged girls.

According to a report yesterday, Utah Correctional Industries, a state-run program that provides job training for inmates, will end the telemarketing operation within three months.

The 130 inmates employed in the call center handled inbound and outbound calls on behalf of two state agencies and two private companies, including SandStar Family Entertainment, a Salt Lake City-based company that markets movies edited for family viewing.

In a prepared statement, SandStar said it had apologized to one of its customers, a 14-year-old Texas girl who received a suggestive letter from an inmate after he contacted her in a telemarketing call.

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