Red Brick Daily Staff

It can be hard to find work after serving a prison term. Having a criminal record is a non-starter for many bosses around the world.

In Taiwan, many former inmates work in positions that don’t require a resume or references, such as becoming a cook or day laborer. But Kaohsiung City is offering ex-cons a post-prison career option that can be rather lucrative: mortuary beautician.

The burial of bodies inside major cities’ limits has been banned across most of Taiwan for quite some time now, meaning most families choose to have their departed loved ones cremated. But before the cremation, there is often a series of religious and cultural traditions related to death … and being dead doesn’t mean you can ‘let yourself go.’

Mortuary beauticians apply makeup, shape eyebrows, wash hair and perform other “touch ups” on the departed, but owing to many cultural taboos related to dead bodies, it’s not exactly the most popular career choice.

A mortuary beautician course offered at a prison run by Kaohsiung City has, however, proved very popular among inmates. One fan is a 33-year-old individual serving three years for drug-related offenses.

The man, identified only by his nickname Tsai Gu, told the media that he’s just a few months from release and he’s grateful that he now has a concrete plan for work after he gets out.

Prison officials said inmates appear to take the mortuary beautician courses seriously, with inmates reportedly paying significantly more attention in these classes than in other vocational classes offered by the prison.

Inmates may also now take their license exam while still serving time, meaning they will be certified mortuary beauticians immediately upon release.

Reports say there are currently close to 70 former Kaohsiung prison inmates now working as mortuary beauticians.

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