OFFENDERS WASH, DRY AND FOLD ‘BRAS FOR A CAUSE’
by Valerie Bonk
This article is reprinted with permission from The Patch
He may not be able to spend his days sitting next to her, but Alfonso Young, 45, of Baltimore, an inmate at the Central Maryland Correctional Facility in Sykesville, thinks everyday about his mother, a breast cancer survivor who visits him in prison when she is able.
“I wear this shirt all of the time in honor of her,” said Young, pointing to his shirt that was accidentally dyed pink in the laundry facility where he works as an inmate. Young is currently serving time for possession of a handgun as a convicted felon.
“It’s great working here and learning something new. For me though, this project is really personal since my mom is a survivor,” said Young. “I’m really for the cause and I’m glad I can do something to help out.”
On Thursday, Young was able to give back to cancer research through washing, drying and folding bras as part of the “Bras for a Cause” charity project. Inmate workers at the Central Maryland Correctional Facility at 7301 Buttercup Road in Sykesville cleaned more than 13,000 bras in one of Maryland Correctional Enterprises’ largest community projects.
The bras, collected by 99.9 WFRE, were cleaned free of charge by the employed inmates in Sykesville in advance of the Frederick radio station distributing them to local women’s shelters.
For each bra donated to the radio station, Shockley Honda gave $1 to the Women’s Center at Crestwood. Maryland Correctional Enterprise staff contributed 160 bras to the collection, while also attending the counting party held in October that drew a large crowd to raise awareness for breast cancer.
Thursday marked the third year the prison system has donated laundry services to the fundraiser, saving more than $1,000 if the job were done commercially.
“This is the most bras we’ve had here in the three years we’ve been off ering our services for the charity,” said Capt. Blake Haulsee, laundry plant manager at Maryland Correctional Enterprises. “We have at least 40 boxes we need to fill up with folded bras. It’s really a great project and we’re very happy we get to help out.”
The laundry plant at the Sykesville prison, founded in 1959, employs more than 100 inmates and provides washing and drying services to the patients at nearby Springfield Hospital in addition to the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
The Central Maryland Correctional Facility is a pre-release establishment in Sykesville that prepares inmates through training programs, employment, resume workshops and substance abuse classes. When it comes to safety for area residents, staff at the prison say, that’s not an issue – these inmates are working on bettering their lives and want to go home.
“Most of our inmates spend less than two years and we have 100 percent employment here,” said Maj. Leonard Rice, who has worked as an officer in the Maryland Correctional Enterprises system for 31 years. “Security is not an issue. Our inmates are released back into the counties they came from and with it being a pre-release facility, they are very focused on good behavior so they can be released back home,” said Rice.