Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart inaugurated the new program Monday.
The goal is to help jailed veterans and to save taxpayer money.
About 20 veterans who are awaiting trial on non-violent charges have begun doing the laundry of more than 9,000 inmates.
It's something we feel proud of. It is something that is one of the first steps, second step, third step in us trying to work with veterans who are in our custody to give them skills an on to a productive life," said Dart.
Dart says putting inmates in charge should also reduce laundry costs by about 13 percent. Previously, an outside contractor did the laundry at the jail at a cost of about $750,000 a year.