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Cosmetology School shapes inmates behind the wire

Friday, July 05, 2019

McLoud, Okla -- You cannot contain joy. These women have reason to celebrate. Inmate Shalene Groom said, “Prison wasn’t the end for me. It’s a new beginning.”

More than a dozen Mabel Bassett inmates are graduating from cosmetology school.

Sherry Lewelling is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology & Barbering Board. She said, “When they are released from this establishment, they will have that license in hand.“

This is a first of its kind class for an Oklahoma prison. Christie Luther started the R.I.S.E program after serving time herself. She wanted to return and give other incarcerated women hope. Luther said, “Never underestimate the power of planting a seed in someone’s life. It might produce a beautiful harvest.”

In front of friends and family – they received their hard-earned diplomas.

State Senator Roger Thompson say this program should be the benchmark for others within the department of corrections. “My interest is that we must have education programs that mean something to the inmates so when they get out they become productive citizens of society. So, this is one of those great programs.”

So great -- Stacey Goad put off her January release to finish her education at Mabel Bassett. She said, “I knew this is where God wanted me to be. If I had gotten out then I wouldn’t have had the tool, the courage and confidence to walk out with a license.”

A brighter future for all these women -- because Christie Luther and others saw their value and made an investment.

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