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Barber School Gives Jail Inmates Second Chance

Some Cook County Jail inmates are using barber-school diplomas to get a second change. (CBS)

Some Cook County Jail inmates are using barber-school diplomas to get a second change. (CBS)

Suzanne Le Mignot Suzanne Le Mignot
Suzanne Le Mignot serves as CBS 2 Chicago’s general assignment...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Some inmates who are locked up at Cook County Jail are developing new careers with combs and scissors.

CBS 2′s Suzanne Le Mignot was there when the first graduates made the cut.

As Scott Lanier accepts his degree from Larry’s Barber College, he’s also marking a new beginning in his life. He was just released from jail.

His degree will not only enable him to get a job, but has given him a different outlook on life.

“I see myself owning my own salon, my own barbershop,” Lanier says. “I believe it was a blessing that I was put here. Sometimes you have to go through things to get to another level in life.”

Lanier is part of the first graduating class. Barber college founder Larry Roberts started the program this year with the help of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

“These aren’t bad people. We look at them and think that they’re bad because they’re selling drugs or they’re gang banging; actually, they’re just doing what they know,” Roberts says.

Charles Spriggs says he was once a gang leader. Now he works as a barber and attends school.

“If you put your best foot forward, believe in God, believe in yourself, you can make it,” he says.

The cost to get a barber’s license through Larry’s Barber College is $10,600 per person. The college founder provides free schooling for each inmate and helps them complete 1,500 hours of training to receive their degree.