Throughout the concrete partitions of Valley State Jail, a medium-security facility positioned in Chowchilla, California, exists a tiny oasis of whirring blow-dryers and warm-water scalp massages, populated by college students desirous to be taught the fragile arts of gel manicures and hair dye.

In line with a January 2017 research, greater than 100 state and federal prisons in america provide instructional applications to their inmates (an necessary statistic contemplating 2013 research discovered that schooling decreased recidivism by 43 %), and Valley State is certainly one of them. This system started in 1996, when Valley State was a girls’s facility. Sixteen years later, it turned a males’s jail, and the salon classroom, match for 30 college students, remained. It turned a jail magnificence faculty for males — presumably the one certainly one of its form. “In jail, you’re not allowed to the touch anybody,” says teacher Carmen Shehorn. “However the college students be taught to the touch others gently and never really feel awkward whereas doing it, and to go with with out crossing boundaries.”

The college gives coaching in “any service you’d discover in a salon,” says Shehorn, comparable to waxing, facials, make-up, and hair coloring. The inmates begin with mannequins (which must be signed out, together with instruments like shears) and may later tackle shoppers — different inmates and workers.

After 1,600 hours of courses and hands-on utility, a scholar takes an examination administered by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, and, if he passes, will depart jail with a license, able to work. “5 of my graduates have jobs in salons,” says Shehorn. “The [students] don’t at all times are available in respecting one another, however they be taught to. Finally, you’ll hear them speaking about opening a salon or barbershop collectively after they get out.”

Valley State Prison Barber Shop
Valley State Prison Barber Shop


In line with a 2017 report, over 219,000 girls had been in jail at the moment. These three magnificence applications assist feminine prisoners begin to thrive.

Mabel Bassett Correctional Facility
Situated in McCloud, Oklahoma, the state with the very best variety of incarcerated girls per capita within the U.S., the Re-Entry Funding Pupil Training program is the primary cosmetology course within the state. This system’s assist extends post-release — girls get assist with transitional housing, clothes, and substance abuse restoration if wanted.

Rikers Island Jail Complicated
Brooklyn-based hairstylist Heather Packer introduced her nonprofit, Fearless Magnificence (based in India), to the U.S. this 12 months. The six-month pilot program teaches 15 girls at Rikers in New York Metropolis to chop and elegance hair.

Espresso Creek
Correctional Facility Oregon’s solely jail for ladies, in Wilsonville, can embrace as much as 20 inmates at a time in its Espresso Creek College of Cosmetology. The amenities home a magnificence salon for college kids and a provide retailer the place all inmates can get fundamentals like shampoo and skin-care merchandise.

A model of this text initially appeared within the August 2018 challenge of Attract. For vogue credit, see Purchasing Information. To get your copy, head to newsstands or subscribe now.

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