Governor Signs Bill to Facilitate Cosmetology and Barber Training in Prisons

May 13, 2024
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Rep. Eric Roberts, R-Oklahoma City, extends his appreciation to Governor Stitt for signing a bill designed to help prisoners develop work skills for employment options upon their release from prison.  

House Bill 3158 would modify the current school application requirements to help cosmetology and barber schools in prisons continue to educate and train students. 

"The requirements for running a school within a prison are impractical, and the unique challenges that come with it need to be considered," Roberts said. "In recent years, lawmakers have worked to reduce hurdles to employment for people with a criminal record through reforms such as occupational licensing reform and expungement automation under certain circumstances. When an individual can find employment after serving their time, it significantly decreases the likelihood they will return to crime and incarceration."

Under the measure, correctional facility schools are exempt from submitting a financial statement as they provide education free of charge and do not collect any funds. These schools will also obtain a memorandum of understanding from the Department of Corrections.

RISE Cosmetology School currently offers training programs at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center. Witnessing former prisoners trained in cosmetology experience a transformative impact through this program, Roberts said he advocates expanding employment and educational opportunities to aid recently incarcerated individuals in rebuilding their lives after prison.

Roberts also thanks Sen. Rader, R-Tulsa, for carrying the bill in the Senate.

"I'd like to thank Senator Rader for advancing this measure in the Senate," Roberts said. "I am grateful for the governor's support and the cooperation of my fellow lawmakers in developing reforms that will help previously convicted individuals reenter the workforce."

“House Bill 3158 helps make second chances possible for incarcerated Oklahomans,” Rader said. “Ensuring these individuals have marketable job skills to find gainful employment after completing their sentence improves the state's workforce and reduces recidivism rates. The governor’s support of this measure that will build on Oklahoma’s previous workforce initiatives and criminal justice reforms is greatly appreciated.”

HB3158 will go into effect on Nov. 1. 

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