Part II: Preparing Women at the Gadsden Facility for Jobs
Video Shot Prior to COVID-19 Pandemic
Watch Part I of this story by clicking here.
“I love the fact that they walk out of here and they have the chance to be successful.”
Gadsden Correctional Facility Warden Jerry Buscher talks about the graduates of the cosmetology or ‘Cosmo’ program, as its often affectionately called.
Fisthnise Saint Breux is one of the students.
“The book work, the hands on, all of those things come together to make Cosmo what it is. And I believe that I will be successful with this skill under my belt, upon my release.”
The cosmetology program at the Quincy, FL facility is a testament to the dedication of the facility and staff to do all they can to make a difference in the lives of the women they serve. Johnalyn Head is an instructor.
“So, a lot of times when I’m teaching,” she explains, I’ll say something along the lines of ‘Does that make sense?’ Because it may not make sense to everyone, so I’m always looking to see whoever it didn’t make sense to, just to make sure I can reiterate in a way, or communicate in a way, that it does make sense. So, it’s very important.”
Emily Paul is also a student.
“Our teacher has done an amazing job in making sure that we’ve learned everything. She’s made sure that we’ve had tons of hands-on experience.”
Instructor Head explains how rewarding teaching the class is to her.
“They just want that second chance. So, I’m excited to know that I play a part in that, and then just to see it actually working, it is beautiful. It’s beautiful. It’s been great; rewarding, probably one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had, just to see the difference in the students as they acquire new skills every day when they learn something new. It really makes it worth coming to work. I always tell them all the time that it’s because of them that I really enjoy my job, because they make it easy for me.”
“She’s just a very hands-on individual,” says Emily Paul speaking of Ms. Head. “She makes you feel like that you’re the only person in the room when she speaks directly to you. She’ll have one-on-one time with you if you’re not sure about something. And she’ll take you aside and counsel you if you need help with something individually, whether it be about something that’s going on here, with the compound, or whether it be about the hair issues that you have going on.”
As a consultant to the program, local salon owner Nikki Clark sees things from a community perspective.
“I feel like they are doing it out of their heart,” she says, in regard to the people responsible for providing the program. “It’s not just a job-which I love in any kind of profession. Mr. Saxton, Ms. Head, I can’t say enough great things about them. They love these girls, and they really give it their all.”
Emily Paul further describes Ms. Head.
“She is incredibly invested in not just the program but in each student individually. She’s just an amazing woman, and I’ve been very blessed to have her involved my life.”
About Gadsden Correctional Facility
Gadsden Correctional Facility is accredited by the American Correctional Association—
achieving 100% compliance for both mandatory and non-mandatory standards in
its most recent audit. Other accreditations and certifications include the Correctional
Education Association and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).