CAIRO — During a visit to Cairo on Saturday that included a number of stops, Gov. Bruce Rauner also paid a visit to Shear Perfect barbershop to meet with Landus Jackson.

Jackson was the first inmate to walk out of a correctional institution in recent years with a cosmetology license in hand. Jackson left Vienna Correctional Center in October 2016 after serving an eight and a half year sentence for drug-related crimes. Because he was able to receive his cosmetology license before exiting prison, Jackson began work almost immediately after returning home.

Rauner’s administration, both the Illinois Department of Corrections and Illinois Department of Corrections and Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, worked to remove barriers that previously required ex-inmates enrolled in career programs behind bars to wait until after they reentered society to complete the licensure process.

Because of the hoops people had to jump through, some gave up on the process they had worked toward on the inside because of the challenges they faced on the outside.

“Everybody deserves a second chance. If you want to work hard and have a good life, you deserve a second chance,” the governor said.

“Yes you do,” Jackson agreed, never stopping from working the head of hair on the client in his chair. Several others were lined up for a cut. Jackson told the governor that the change gives inmates hope for being able to quickly land on their feet after serving their time. 

According to Nicole Wilson, a spokeswoman for Rauner, nine former inmates have left an IDOC facility with their cosmetology license in hand since the change was made last year. Three are awaiting review, and an additional seven inmates will be eligible in 2018.


On Twitter: @MollyParkerSI ​



Molly Parker is general assignment and investigative projects reporter for The Southern Illinoisan.

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