AK DOC Today

News, Events, and Activities in the Alaska Department of Corrections

Goose Creek Barber School Successes

Earlier this month on a clear Sunday morning, four inmates entered a salon in Wasilla, Alaska, wearing yellow jump suits and iron leg chains. They left in the same attire. The only difference was now they could say they are professional barbers.

The Barber School is a journey that started over a year and a half ago at Goose Creek Correctional Center. It has proven to be a vehicle to success for inmates Adam Barger, John Samuelson, Jariss Black, and Terral Wright. They passed their written and practical application tests with extremely high scores.

The Board of Barbers & Hairdressers Chairwoman, Glenda Ledford, stated the Goose Creek barbers were a higher level of student than normal. So much so, that all three examiners agreed they would hire any of the students immediately. “That’s when I knew the program was working,” said Sergio Colgan, the Alaska licensed inmate barber instructor at Goose Creek.

The inmate-instructor played an intricate role in starting and organizing the barber school. Inmate Colgan models a disciplined work and study environment and encourages participants to demonstrate their work ethic and motivation to succeed upon release.

The curriculum was 18 months, which included hands on training, lecture, and book testing; all while conducting general population haircuts, Monday through Friday, mornings and afternoons for over 700 fellow inmates. By becoming a barber, the men are choosing a career that is a credible job choice. Barbers have the ability to be their own boss, set their own schedules, and with enough ambition, make above average wages.

One of the main goals for DOC is to offer reformative programming that will likely reduce recidivism. Goose Creek is off to great start in this endeavor and has already started their second group of student barbers. Becoming a barber is a creative way for future returning citizens to transition back into society and be a positive role model in the community.

“I’m happy to see these guys succeed. I want them to be better than the average barber walking the street; they have to be better,” said Colgan.