COXSACKIE, N.Y. - Convicts at the Greene Correctional Facility, a medium security prison in Coxsackie, are now taking calls for New York State Department of Motor Vehicles in a call center that has been opened at the prison.
This call center, in conjunction with the DMV Call Center at the women's Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, which hires 39 offenders, is expected to answer more than one million calls per year. This is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's call to state agencies to seek more cost effective ways to deliver services to the public effectively and efficiently, saving taxpayers approximately $3.5 million annually.
Greene's call center will employ up to 45 offenders when fully operational, including full-time, part-time customer service agents, trainees, six DMV employee team leaders and two trainers.
Offenders must successfully be trained as Customer Service Representatives in a 490 hour program supervised by DMV staff. The training sessions consist of both classroom time and telephone time.
Participating offenders do not have access to DMV computers and are not able to access any customer data. Offenders convicted of a telephone-related crime or credit card or computer fraud are not eligible to work at the center, the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision says.
Each offender is hired by DMV after being recommended by DOCCS and their performance is continually evaluated by DMV staff. They also must have either a high school diploma or a GED.
Participating offenders are paid standard hourly correctional industry wages that range from 46 cents to $1.14 per hour based on experience level and title.
The DOCCS says the program provides offenders with knowledge of vehicle and traffic law, permits, renewals, Commercial Drivers Licenses, fee structure and other DMV related information. Offenders learn skills aimed at making them more marketable upon release from prison, including customer service, communication and problem solving.