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Sykesville Inmates Wash, Dry and Fold 'Bras for a Cause'

The men, imprisoned in Sykesville, spent Thursday afternoon preparing bras for women in shelters across the state.

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 died 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 offering 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 of the 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.

Michele Field December 16, 2011 at 03:57 PM
I think it's inappropriate to have men working with ladies intimate wear. It would be absurd to think it wouldn't cause those men to think of women's bodies & create thoughts of lust. Not to say they are dirty minded, but I think it's cruel to provide a means of directing their thoughts towards intimacy while they are incarcerated.
Gabrielle Donnald December 16, 2011 at 05:14 PM
If the men have "thoughts of lust" they'll have them regardless of whether they're handling bras or not. Besides, as the gentleman in the pink shirt mentioned some of them are personally affected by breast cancer and feel that this is something that they can do to help women affected by cancer. I don't think it's inappropriate at all and I thank them for their help.
Karmen Dav is June 04, 2012 at 07:46 AM
I want to say Thank You Alfonzo, not only for what u r doing, but because u have been my friend for 14 yrs, and I had to go on the internet to find u locked up :(. U know that we always kept in touch with one another. he is a good guy out in the streets, so I was not surprise to see him doing such a good cause.
sammike March 17, 2013 at 06:42 AM
I want to thank all the prisoners that work so hard for cancer hospital etc.they have paid ttheir way back to society.when inmates go to this prison is this the last place before their release and how long do they have to stay at the facility normally before release.my fiance is there he has been there since the summer of 2012 so I wanted to know what's the next step

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