Catch-22: TX Pays to Train Ex-Convict as Barber, Rejects His Bid for License


Why would one branch of Texas government buy a citizen something with public money only to have another branch declare it worthless months later? Lynn Mays’ now-you-can-have-it, now-you-can’t story began in 2010, when he was released from prison, says the Austin American-Statesman. He was convicted twice for aggravated sexual assault. A criminal record can make it difficult to find a job; ex-prisoners have unemployment rates many times higher than the general population.

It can be particularly difficult to land a job requiring a state license. Regulatory agencies bar convicts from entering many occupations until they have demonstrated they have walked the straight and narrow for sufficient time — up to a decade after leaving prison, in some cases. Eventually, a state counselor recommended that Mays study to become a barber, and the agency agreed to pay for the training. Then, the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulation, citing his criminal record, rejected his application for a license. Responding to complaints of ex-convicts’ paying to learn occupational skills only to be denied a license, the regulatory affairs department now allows potential applicants to seek an opinion on their odds of approval, given their particular criminal backgrounds, before signing up for training.

Comments are closed.


You have Free articles left this month.

Want access to all our reporting? Subscribe for unlimited access or login.