Cutting Hair and Changing Lives

Most people know and appreciate how hard it is to reintegrate into society after being in jail. They also recognize how hard it must be to find stable and rewarding work with such a mark on their past. Most people do not, however, try to solve these issues and offer solutions that are as unique and interesting as R&R Head Labs.

R&R Head Labs, founded by James Repenning in Denver, Colorado, is an innovative barbershop that integrates professional hair care with social impact, targeting the rehabilitation and reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals. Through a partnership with Colorado prisons and the support of the Colorado Department of Corrections, the program recruits inmates for barbering apprenticeships that provide immediate work opportunities and a path to licensure.

The shop’s design is mindful of its employees’ past experiences, avoiding certain colors and arranging barber chairs to minimize potential triggers. Key to the project’s success is Charles Smith, a former inmate who now leads recruitment and reentry efforts, emphasizing the critical role of stable employment in preventing recidivism. R&R Head Labs not only focuses on providing jobs but also creates a welcoming and inclusive environment, aiming to expand its unique model to other cities.


James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]

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