Although serving time for a crime he didn’t commit, Juan Rivera obtained his barber licence with the assistance of prison guard Bobby Mattison.
Legacy Barber College is now open in Rogers Park, Illinois.
Juan Rivera felt he was going to die in jail for a crime he didn’t commit nearly 30 years ago.
Rivera’s correctional officer, Bobby Mattison, turned the prison’s barbershop into one of the state’s first licenced barber colleges in a maximum security environment while incarcerated. As Rivera worked to clear his name, Mattison assisted him in obtaining his barber licence, and the two discussed the possibility of opening a barber school together.
Rivera’s sentence was reversed in 2012. For the wrongful conviction, he won a $20 million payout.
Rivera believes that one of the best ways he can give back is to open a barber school. Legacy aims to provide individuals who have been involved in the criminal justice system, as well as others, with a road to a stable career and life.
“This started, believe it or not, in prison,” Rivera said. “I saw a need. We want to help the less fortunate. Because once they get out, they usually have nothing to fall back on.”Follow Us