By Christopher Zoukis Image courtesy prisonprofiler.com
The women of Topeka Correctional Facility in Topeka, Kansas are an interesting sort. While some sweep, mop, wipe down tables, or engage in wholesale janitorial work assignments, a special group of 8 female prisoners make dentures for low-income patients through an innovative partnership between the Kansas Department of Corrections, Kansas Correctional Industries, and the Southeast Kansas Education Center at Greenbush.
Founded by the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation, in 2007, the dental technician program employs 8 female prisoners at Topeka Correctional Facility, all of which were specially selected by prison administrators for program placement. These female prisoners make dentures for Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved (KAMU) patients.
The process is complex. The KAMU clinics make an impression of the patient’s mouth. This impression is then sent to the female prisoner dental technicians at the Topeka Correctional Facility, who create a wax and plastic teeth mold of the impression. This temporary mold is then returned to the KAMU clinic to ensure that the fit is perfect. Once approval is granted, the mold is sent back to the prison, where the female prisoner dental technicians use plastic teeth and hard acrylic to craft the final set of dentures. These are then delivered back to the KAMU clinic for delivery to the eagerly awaiting patients.