A Clean-Cut Future Thanks to Marshall County Correctional Facility
“Trust the process,” Aundray Shackelford tells a group of students in the barber program at the Marshall County Correctional Facility. “Trust what you’re doing.”
Aundray is a former resident of the Holly Springs, MS facility. While living at the facility, Aundray received his barber license with the Mississippi board. Today, he runs his own barber shop and is successful in every aspect of his life since his release. He wanted to come back to the facility and encourage the men preparing for their own releases.
“You gotta know what you want,” he tells them, “then turn around and go get it. You got the tools, man. Get behind that chair and do it.”
Janice Wilkins is the program’s instructor.
“I had no idea that Aundray would arrive to the position where he is in life now. But, before he left the facility, he became one of my number-one barbers; a ‘go to’ guy. One that I could always depend on.”
With 40 years in the hair care industry behind her, Ms. Wilkins has been teaching at the facility for seven years and has made a huge impact. So far, all the men that have completed her program have become licensed barbers.
“We have a 100% success rate,” explains Warden Jesse Williams. “Ms. Wilkins does an outstanding job. Everyone who has gone in front of the barbering board and taken the written test, and then, also, do the actual cutting. No one has failed, and we take great pride in that. The proof is in the pudding by showing the statistics that we can show of folks graduating, and also folks getting meaningfully employed, and then coming back and encouraging others, that ‘what I’m doing, you, too, can also do.’”
“You gotta stay with it,” says Aundray to the group. “School don’t stop.”
In an interview, he continues, “even for me it wasn’t too late. It’s all about your mindset and the direction you want to go. I wanted success, and I’m still working to obtain that.”
“Aundray didn’t even know how to hold a pair of clippers in his hand when he started this class,” reflects Ms. Wilkins. “And to go from that to being as successful as he is now? I’m so very proud of him, as well as myself, because I know that my work has not gone in vain.”
“I’d like to thank Ms. Wilkins,” Aundray says. “Ms. Wilkins, she put it in us. I mean she poured her knowledge into us, and I just thank Marshall County and the facility just for having her here, and MTC, just for having this program.”
In front of the group, Aundray praises his former instructor.
“Ms. Wilkins I thank you so much. Lord, I thank you.”