People who have spent time in jail learning to cut hair will now have the chance to find work once they’ve repaid their debt to society.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation now allows offenders to get their barbering and cosmetology licenses in the months preceding their parole or release.
Previously, ex-offenders would have to apply for their licenses after their release, a process that could take months and keep them from getting a job. Now, the Department of Corrections will allow applications and even a video-conference interview with the licensing board before an inmate is released.
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Professional Regulation Director Brian Scheider said this rule change will allow ex-offenders to hit the ground running once they re-enter society.
“(Offenders) will have no impediments to licensure and can walk out of the Illinois Department of Corrections with a license that will allow them to get a job,” he said.
Megan Royer is enrolled in the Department of Correction’s cosmetology program. She said this change will give ex-offenders the ability to fend for themselves when their sentences are up.
“Being able to go out into society and have that license in hand, we are able to just start applying for jobs in this field,” she said.
LaDonna Rice will complete the Department of Corrections’ cosmetology program soon. “It gives me a second chance at a future achieving my goals because I always wanted to do cosmetology,” she said.