New Inmate Laundry System

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 |

The biggest issue of contention for the last several months is that of the inmate laundry. The Camp COs came into the units today and took out all the washers and dryers. We now have a new inmate laundry system.  The inmates will now drop off their laundry bags at the Laundry Department and pick them up later the same day.  This change date was announced several months ago so it was expected.

Most guys preferred doing their own laundry for the simple reason that they didn’t want their clothes contaminated with the soils of others.  The Camp has always offered laundry service for personal clothes but it was rarely used. The guys, including myself, are less concerned with bed linens. These could be exchanged once a week, which I have always done.

Why Inmates Like Doing Their Own Laundry

This is a medical facility which means there are guys here with all sorts of diseases, fluids and waste adhering to their clothes. In addition, many guys were worried that the laundry would lose their personal clothes (underwear, socks, etc.) and medical garment items such as diabetic socks. These are paid for by the inmates, most of which have little funds to replace lost items. The other concern was that the laundry would fade and crumple the “greens” (uniforms). Also, guys are rightly concerned that the clothes in laundry bags will not be dried properly. These are all very valid concerns.

Justification for Pulling Washers and Dryers

The BOP’s justification has been cost reduction. The washers and dryers go 24/7 using an inordinate amount of water and electricity. While I find this concern valid, the choice of attacking the inmate’s laundry is almost laughable considering the other waste at the camp that should be addressed.

In addition, the washers and dryers were paid for by the inmate’s commissary account fund. The profits from commissary, phone and email (Trulincs) go into an account that is supposed to fund inmate activities. Everyone doubts that this money is being spent effectively on the inmates. I, frankly, have no clue that money is being spent given the total lack of inmate activity and recreational services. I can almost guarantee you that there is no oversight and audit of these funds. This account is ripe for fraud and abuse, though I have no evidence of any wrongdoing.

The pulling of washers and dryers has been tried at other Butner facilities, and each time the washers and dryers went back in. I expect the Laundry Department will be written up often for the issues I mentioned above.

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