The 23 cosmetology students at Georgia’s three women’s prisons are convicted felons: killers, armed robbers, burglars, drug dealers, and users. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the women say they’re paying for their mistakes and hope to improve their lives by learning a skill they can use once released.
The women in the program scored a major victory recently when the state Cosmetology Board began allowing them to take the master cosmetology licensing exam, which allows them to ply the trade professionally. Until last year the board, which issues permits to about 50,000 Georgia cosmetologists, stylists, nail technicians, and other salon workers, would not allow graduates of the prison system to take the licensing exam. State legislation in 2004 forcing the board to test the inmates. Four inmates have passed the exam, earning probationary licenses.