The VICE Guide to Right Now

You Can Now Get a Haircut at This Kerala Beauty Parlour Run by Prison Inmates

Prisoners from the capital city’s Poojapura Central Prison have been trained in salon services as part of a rehabilitation programme.
Shamani Joshi
Mumbai, IN

Life in an Indian prison can be an oppressive affair, with most of them being overcrowded, understaffed and generally lacking in resources. But in a heartwarming initiative coming out of Kerala, you can now get a haircut or manicure from an inmate trained in salon services. At the Freedom Looks men’s beauty parlour run completely by inmates of the Poojapura Central Prison in the city of Thiruvananthapuram, services on offer include haircut, hair wash, colour, manicures and even foot massages at a discounted rate.


This initiative—run by the prison that has also run widely-appreciated initiatives which range from food business to garment production—is the prison’s way of testing out the beautician course offered to inmates. It’s set up in what used to be an abandoned building next to the jail, which was renovated and set up as a fully-equipped salon. Currently, 22 inmates trained in the art of primping are working at the salon.

“The inmates will be employed at the salon on shifts. We have given more priority to those who have basic skills like haircut, hair dyeing, spa, manicure, pedicure and facial,” Ratheesh R C, assistant superintendent at the Central Prison told The New Indian Express.

This is the second beauty parlour in the state run entirely by the prison inmates after the Phoenix Freedom Xpressions at the Central Prison in Kannur which was launched in 2017. While many have been quick to criticise that women are not offered the beautician course, the prison department has promised to launch the same for women inmates soon.

Follow Shamani Joshi on Instagram.