A collaboration between Metroc - a software company developing an AI designed to help construction companies - and the country's Smart Prisons project has led to inmates at the Hameenlinna women's correctional facility and three other prisons being paid €1.54 an hour to study property listings and planning documents before answering a series of comprehension questions to help the program recognise clues to find new build newly-approved building projects.
Metroc founder Jussi Virnala told The Times newspaper: “This is laptop work. You are reading the documents and answering yes or no questions regarding the content.”
No formal surveys have assessed whether the work helps prisoners find jobs or adjust when they are no longer behind bars but Pia Puolakka - who heads up the Smart Prisons initiative - is keen for people to develop their tech skills while inside.
She said: “Prisoners are much better prepared for when they leave prison if they’ve got some familiarity with the web."
Although she would be happy to roll out more data work, she doesn't think jobs such as social media moderation or indexing sensitive texts - both of which can be hard to recruit for - would be suitable.
She said: “Prisoners have very traumatic backgrounds, usually. So I would be very careful on choosing what kind of material they are provided or data they cover.”