On Assignment
Laundry Lessons for Ex-offenders
An exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at how SCORE’s laundry plant provides a conducive aftercare environment for ex-offenders.

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A laundry plant employee prepares linen for drying. PHOTO: Peggy Tan

For ex-offenders working at the YR Industries laundry plant in Loyang, the job isn’t just a chance at meaningful employment. It’s also about embracing positive influences and learning discipline. 

Ahmad (not his real name), 54, shows up for work early every morning, even though his shift only starts at 8.30am. “I quit smoking, stopped drinking alcohol and stayed away from drugs,” he explained. “I wake up early and try reach the plant by 7.30am to start servicing the machines. This helps me to discipline myself, and strengthen my resolve to change.”

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Let’s get sorted: Used garments in plastic bags waiting to be sorted at the plant. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

YR Industries is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE). Operationalised in November 2016, the Loyang plant complements services offered by the SCORE laundry plant in Changi Prison Complex while providing an effective aftercare environment for ex-offenders.

Ahmad joined the Loyang plant in July 2016 after completing a prison sentence for drug-related offences. As part of his work programme, he'd also previously worked in the laundry plant in Changi Prison Complex during his incarceration.
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Making a clean start: Ahmad at his work station. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

At the plant, used garments are sorted according to their type and size before being sent for washing. “When I was attached to this part of the laundry plant, I was trained to operate computerised laundry washing systems,” said Ahmad. “I often shared pointers with my colleagues and we made it a point to try to improve our processes.” 

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Washed up: After this load of hospital scrubs has been washed, plant employees prepare it for drying. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

YR Industries employs approximately 35% of ex-offenders in their laundry workforce. After eight months, Ahmad was transferred to the Clean Bay where garments and linen are washed, dried, folded and processed for delivery. 

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Drying time: Linen being tumble-dried after washing. PHOTO: Peggy Tan

Ahmad is very thankful for the support of his colleagues. “The staff here are very nice to me,” he said. “They’ve embraced me with open arms, and even celebrated my birthday with me. They’re the nicest people to have around, and I treasure all of them.”

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Crisp folds and more: Plant employees folding hospital garments that have been dried. PHOTO: Peggy Tan

Ahmad has also been offered numerous opportunities to upgrade himself. “SCORE sent me for courses about four months after I joined,” he said. “I have certificates in subjects such as Logistics, but I chose to work at the laundry plant because I love the environment here.” 

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Good to go: Folded hospital scrubs ready for packing and delivery. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

Ahmad was promoted to Team Leader in 2017 and now oversees operations at the Clean Bay and other related areas. It was a challenge, he admits, but one that he rose up to. “I embraced the difficulties because they help me to grow,” said Ahmad. “I struggled during the first few months, but am doing my job much better now!”

SCORE Initiatives
Find out how else SCORE helps in the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-offenders:
Lifting the Lid: Mastering a Sweet Craft, for a Second Chance
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Desmond Ang
  2. 22 January 2019
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