“This is exciting news for these inmates, who will be able to be licensed as cosmetologists and gain meaningful employment when they parole,” said Wendy Still, Associate Director for CDCR Female Offender Programs and Services. “Programs like this are part of a concerted effort by the state to reduce recidivism by providing inmates with rehabilitation programs and tools they need to become contributing members of society upon release.”
The successful inmates were Michelle Agee, Risha Land, and Rose Ward from Los Angeles County.
The onsite testing at the prisons is the second since the prisons were activated in the 1990s; the first on-site testing occurred in December 2006. The licensing exam is the culmination of more than 3,200 hours of study. The Vocational Cosmetology programs offer courses of study and practical, hands-on experience at the female institutions in Chowchilla and at the California Institution for Women in Chino. The program is such a success that the prisons are expanding their vocational cosmetology programs.
As part of the Department’s focus on female offender reform initiatives, CDCR partnered with Assembly Member Karen Bass (D-Baldwin Vista). Bass introduced AB 861, legislation that required the State Board to issue a probationary license to an applicant—such as an inmate—that is subject to specified terms and conditions. Previously, state law banned licensing of convicted felons, creating an impediment to employment and a successful parole. The bill also required the Board to study the effects of law, regulations, and policy that may create unnecessary barriers to employing individuals with criminal records. Governor Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law on Sept. 22, 2006.
Click here learn more about Governor Schwarzenegger’s comprehensive prison reform package.