Magazine article Corrections Forum

Corrections Laundry May Be a Stepping-Stone to an outside Career

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Corrections Laundry May Be a Stepping-Stone to an outside Career

Article excerpt

Among the dirty bed sheets and clothes found in every single correctional facility, there are opportunities for inmates. Dirty laundry is big business for prisons. Not only do prison laundries provide inmates with jobs and the opportunity to learn work skills, they also provide a stepping-stone, or a ladder of opportunity. While they are ' incarcerated, inmates interested in laundry services opportunities can take classes through The National Association for Institutional Linen Management (NAILM) and prepare for a job on the outside once they are released.

NAILM is a non-profit professional organization, located in Richmond, Kentucky, dedicated to ' the educational aspects of the laundry/linen and environmental services management. Serving approximately 1,000 members in the U.S. and abroad, NAILM provides educational programs for the entire spectrum of staff, as well as inmates for prison populations.

Laundry is Big Business

Employment in institutional ' laundries is available in cities throughout the country in hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, and commercial laundries. "Institutional laundries are nothing like what you operate at home: sort colors, add detergent and water, and push a button," explains Linda Freeman, director of academic affairs. "These are very complex operations requiring personnel to have a good understanding of the maintenance and safety of the equipment, chemistry, basic microbiology and infection control. Since these jobs can be very technical in nature, an inmate with years of experience in an institutional laundry can be quite marketable upon release. This may be even more true if the inmate has been able to partner his practical training and experience with a nationally recognized certification program such as this one."

Laundry as Industry

NAILM provides educational assistance, research, and networking opportunities for the laundry manager at a jail or prison. In addition to providing work-training programs for inmates, NAILM provides education and information for operations issues. These resources may come from faculty at its college, other prison laundry managers or industry experts. This can include tracking and identifying prison garments, infection control and pest management issues, equipment maintenance, chemical concerns, etc.

"Prison laundries... of ten utilize a mix of individuals to staff the facility," says Freeman. "Prison laundry personnel can be a combination of regular employees and inmates, based upon the facility operations and management. Inmate placement in the prison laundry may require a level of clearance achieved through a good record during their incarceration and is sometimes used as part of a reward sys- ' tern or privilege job."

NAILM is a non-profit professional organization, is not a union, and has no collective bargaining or lobby functions. NAILM's various segments target different markets, such as healthcare, hospitality, corrections, and institutional. The corrections segment targets federal prisons and jails, serving both staff, employees and inmates, and provides a rehabilitation/training program.

Since 1939, NAILM has provided a variety of programs through its American Laundry & Linen College and the American Environmental Services College. These include:

* Certified Washroom Technician (CWT);

* Certified Linen Technician (CLT),

* Certified Laundry & Linen Management (CLLM); and

* Registered Laundry & Linen Director (RLLD).

It also offers programs that are tailored for environmental service department managers.

CWT and CLT are certificate programs (not to be confused with "certification" programs, which are different (see below) and are specific to a task/job within in the laundry industry. CLLM is a comprehensive correspondence program that more broadly covers laundry operations for the inmate as well as the correctional employee responsible for laundry operations.

CWT focuses on the wash process, the chemistry, how the equipment works, the importance of the water temperature, etc. …

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