- Created on Saturday, 02 October 2004 16:38
- Written by Staff
SEVIERVILLE, TN. -- The lucky few inmates chosen to work in the prison’s laundry at Sevier County Sheriff’s Department in Sevierville, Tennessee are part of the facilities new money-saving operation.
“We didn’t realize our new laundry equipment would save us money but the new machines have made us much more efficient,” said Paul Lintner the sheriff department’s manager of food service and laundry. Until two years ago the facility was relying on four top load washers and two home-style dryers to keep pace with more than 400 pounds of soiled laundry every day.
“We always had dirty clothes waiting to be washed,” said Lintner. “They had an odor.” The machines were also in constant need of repair and replacement. A plan to add a 22-bed juvenile detention facility spurred Sevier County to seek a more efficient way to do their laundry.
Today the medium sized facility handles 1,200-1,500 pounds of laundry a day for 280 inmates with the help of two new 55-pound soft-mount Continental Pro-Series washer-extractors and two 75 pound dryers. The new equipment runs 12 hours a day and easily handles a twice-weekly laundry load.
Lintner estimates that the new equipment has saved the facility $20,000 a year since they were installed in terms of chemical usage, inventory costs, efficiency and gas use.
Overseeing the whole operation are two inmates, called “trustees” who are hand picked by Lintner for the privilege of working in the prison’s laundry. One person is in change and the other is his helper. “I pick people who have a lot of time like 9 months to a year so that they can be there,” said Lintner. “I give them complete control of the laundry room. Trustees take on a lot of responsibility in the laundry and are in charge of its’ maintenance and keeping Linter informed of inventory and supply levels as well as damaged goods.
“When our laundry man is scheduled for release, I have the new attendant work with him for a day – it’s really simple,” said Lintner. The position of laundry operator is a perk for the inmates. Trustees sleep in a separate dorm, eat better, have access to the kitchen and get “good time” for their services. “They work seven days a week, 12 hours a day and for every day they are in jail working they can get an extra day of credit and get out earlier.
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