in Houston, Texas
Texas aids convicted felon in training as barber but denies license
Thursday, Jun 07, 2012, 04:23AM CST
By Mike Cronin
barber shop

Texas taxpayers spent money training Lynn Mays, an ex-convict, how to be a barber.

But due to a system of state agencies that don’t coordinate, Mays was denied a license to practice his new trade and, in his words, “prove the system works,” the Austin American-Statesman’s Eric Dexheimer reports.

The dispute raises a question: Why have a Texas taxpayer-funded agency assist a man trying to reintegrate into society, only then to have another Texas taxpayer-funded agency prevent that?

Mays, a Dallas-area resident who’s 42, finished an eight-year prison term in 2010 for aggravated sexual assault.

To help him find a job, the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services paid for Mays’ barber training.
 
Mays passed his exams last year. Yet the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation denied Mays a license, concluding that he had not been a free man long enough to prove he’d been rehabilitated. No set time period exists, Jeff Copas, a licensing and regulation department spokesman, told Texas Watchdog.

“It’s done entirely on a case-by-case basis,” Copas said. Officials take many things into account, including the type of crime committed, the amount of time a person has been free, the age of the person and the type of rehabilitation efforts the person has taken, he said.

“There’s a lot of due process involved,” Copas said. “We can’t just arbitrarily deny an appeal.”

Mays’ vocational rehabilitation counselor Charlotte Reed took up the cause for him. Mays appealed the licensing decision to the state Office of Administrative Hearings, and in a letter to that office, Reed pointed out that that “Mr. Mays has several learning disabilities which have been barriers for him in the past,” and that “taxpayers already had paid for his training.”

Taxpayers bought the gas that enabled Mays to appeal to Texas licensing and regulation commissioners last week.

That didn’t matter.

The commissioners unanimously rejected Mays’ entreaty to obtain a barber license, 4-0.

***
Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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Photo of sign by flickr user the justified sinner, used via a Creative Commons license.

Comments
Pat Johnson
Thursday, 06/07/2012 - 04:49AM

Yet, TDLR has issued over 2300 Occupations Licenses to convicted felons already, including Richard Hood of Canyon Lake whom repeatedly sexually molested his own daughter, served time in prison just as Lynn Mays.

TDLR has serious transparency issues...

TDCJ Grunt
Friday, 06/08/2012 - 12:28AM

That figures. I have worked for TDCJ for 21 years. Some good barbers come out of here. I mean, what else is there to learn here ? If a guy is trying to better himself then let him get his license and go to work. If the barbershop he goes to doesn't care then why should the state ? This is just a case study on the lack of cooperation between agencies. TDCJ has got to be the slowest public agency in the United States. As evidenced by some drama already at hand. Check out www.thebackgate.org .. they are TDCJ employees that stand for rights of all, and expose wrongdoing.

LYNN MAYS
Monday, 06/11/2012 - 04:50PM

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT/....LYNN MAYS

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