When you think about the labor inmates are forced to perform while serving their time, you may think of the old cartoons where they were pounding out license plates, or maybe the scenes from Cool Hand Luke where the chain gang is cutting weeds or shoveling gravel on the road. But forced labor has become relatively rare in prisons these days, and inmates are now doing more productive tasks that can prepare them for finding better employment when they get out of prison, such as making dentures.
At the Topeka Correctional Facility, inmates have the option of working at one of many programs in the Kansas Correctional Industries. The dental lab provides inmates with a combination of detailed instruction and hands-on experience of denture manufacturing. The goal is that by the time the inmates are released, they should be able to pass a certification exam, allowing them to get a good-paying job as a denture technician.
The program was established in 2007 with support from the Kansas Education Center at Greenbrush and ongoing funding provided by the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation. Eight inmates are allowed to participate at a time, and as each one is released, a new one is selected from candidates that the administrator believes has the attitude, aptitude, and “proper decorum and respect” to participate.
The dentures made in the program are used to provide dentures to patients at the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved (KAMU), a safety net of clinics for people who cannot afford to purchase dentures.
An initial impression is made at the KAMU clinic, which is then used by inmates to make a wax try-in denture. This denture is then sent back to the clinic to ensure the fit is right. If it is, then a permanent denture is made with hard acrylic gums and plastic teeth.
The program is showing marked improvement. Although inmates only 180 in 2012, from July to December of 2013, they made 159 dentures. As a result of the success, the program is being expanded to admit another eight technicians.
At Dental Excellence of Blue Bell, we of course use sophisticated labs to create our dentures to ensure the quality of fit and materials, but we are also happy to hear that people who cannot afford high-quality dentures or even economy dentures can get them through this program.
If you want to learn more about the dentures we provide, please contact Dental Excellence of Blue Bell in Philadelphia today for an appointment.
Dental Excellence of Blue Bell