How we work in prisons

Setting up our own production facilities within prisons, and managing these ourselves enables us to make sure that the labour rights and wages are assimilated to best practices within production sites outside of prisons. We have appointed our own production managers in our two production facilities, in Cusco, Peru, and Chiang Mai, Thailand. They are on site every day, managing everything from recruitment, training, working hours and payment to ensure that our standards are maintained and developed. Our Copenhagen based team also visits on a regular basis. We see our workspaces in Thailand and Peru as an extension of our company in Denmark. 
A large part of the design process takes place together with our teams inside of the prison. And it is important to us that everyone learns all different techniques from stitching to pattern making. Our teams are exceptionally talented and committed, and function more and more as the design development studio. It is an imperative to us, that we contribute to a responsible work culture in which our employees know their rights and feel safe to speak out. 
Work hours are closely regulated and restricted to a maximum of 30 hours per week to allow for other prison activities. Our employees are entitled to days off, as well as sick days. Production is stopped for national holidays, visits, and prison events. Work time is flexible in order to give room for legal processing of cases, doctors appointments and therapy. 
We also have courses in other areas of expertise in order to develop new skills that are useful for life after prison. So far, we have carried out courses in entrepreneurship, financial literacy, English, jewelry making and business plan development.

Cusco, Peru

In Peru, we have created the NGO ‘Association Made In Prison Peru’ in which every woman is employed. The day to day responsibility lies with our production manager Surya Miranda. She is on-site every day with our team and carries out training and development, ensures quality control and manages payments.
We currently have 15 women on our team, some of whom have been working with us for more than two years. The working hours are 5 hours per day, five days per week. As there are no internet or cell phones in prison, we communicate through Surya, who oversees the dialog between our production team and our headquarters on a daily basis.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

In Thailand, we have a partnership with the Ministry of Justice, The Department of Corrections, Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution and the NGO ‘Kamlanjai Project’ under HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol, who is a UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for Southeast Asia.
This partnership allows us to pioneer a new model for employment inside of the prison.  
Thanakon is our local production manager and he runs the production on a daily basis. He coordinates the production, he buys additional materials and makes sure the team is involved in all processes. Currently, we have 14 employees who have been with us since our opening. They work 6 hours per day, five days per week. 
We are in contact with Thanakon every day to stay updated on every step and with everyone from our team.

What we mean by fair wages

We benchmark our wages against local living wages, as recommended by the International Labor organisation (ILO). A living wage, is the amount of income that is needed to cover the cost of living in a given country. 
Defining a living wage is complicated, as the methodology is based on the actual cost of living for a single person or a family in a given geographical area. This varies widely whether you live in the countryside or the city, and depending on the size of the family or co-dependencies you have.
The costs of living in a prison are different than on the outside. However, most of our employees have families to provide for and we, therefore, benchmark with a living wage that covers the support of families outside of prison.
We monitor the local conditions and should any general changes be applied to the labor markets within the countries in which we operate, we are ready to adjust our employees’ wages accordingly. 
We engage with our employees directly to get their feedback, as well as with international experts from organizations such as the ILO and the UN in order to ensure that we comply and go beyond The Convention Against Forced Labor and The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.