Inmates enrolled in DuPage County jail’s Janitorial Works program are serving more than time. By earning a Cleaning Management Institute(CMI) custodial technician certification, they’re serving themselves, their families and their community. After completing the six-week program, which includes learning the latest in cleaning technology, the nonviolent, low-level offenders leave jail ready to take on good paying jobs, support themselves and their families and become productive members of the community.
“This is part of our Hope and Purpose program,” says Sherriff James Mendrick, “and it’s changing lives.”
Mendrick established rehabilitative training programs in custodial services, culinary arts and welding earlier this year. The first Janitorial Works program participants graduated in August and Mendrick already reports seeing success. A second class is underway and there’s a waitlist for the next.
Learning the Latest in Cleaning Technology
More than just training, earning CMI custodial technician certification means inmates master the science and techniques behind cleaning. They know how to use anything in a janitor’s closet from the most rudimentary mop and bucket to state-of-the-art technology.
And at DuPage County Jail that state-of-the-art technology is a Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning® system.
Having the tool makes a big difference, according to Mendrick. Not only does the No-Touch leave spaces three times cleaner than before, it lets workers clean without the tedious, undignified, backbreaking labor that other methods require. “Let’s be real, cleaning a urinal is not pleasant and no one enjoys getting on their hands and knees to scrub a toilet,” Mendrick says. “This takes the dirtiness out of cleaning.”
Mendrick also appreciates how the No-Touch Cleaning system leaves surfaces dry, reducing the chance for slip-and-fall incidents.
The cleaner, safer interiors are having a ripple effect throughout the entire facility. Staff morale is boosted, inmates behave better and the jail, which has capacity of 968 and a full medical environment, is so well maintained that Mendrick no longer needs to hire an outside contractor. “It’s a win/win,” he says.
For the participants however, it’s bigger than a single win, it’s a lifechanging opportunity. As Charles Lawler, an inmate who graduated from the program in August read at the graduation ceremony, “This experience taught us all teamwork and appreciation for others. It’s given us a new sense of integrity and a motivation for success.’