Los Angeles offers tattoo removal for inmates who regret a tattoo, or no longer wish to be associated with gangs and lifestyle to give them a wider employment opportunity when released from prison.

Los Angeles offers tattoo removal for inmates who regret a tattoo, or no longer wish to be associ...

I'll pay for that! That is smart anyway you look at it. The Feds are removing convict and felon from the lexicon of incarceration. It's a stigmatism once removed allowing reentry. If someone wants to get I HATE YOU tattoos removed we should help them. Yeah, I'll pay for that!

A few years ago, I happened to have Frank Meeink in my office for a few days, and we got to chat a bit.  Great guy.  He used to be covered in neo-nazi tats, I think facials and all.  A doctor that lost family in the Holocaust did all the removals for free, and I've never met a more grateful man.  Such a powerful act, tattoo removal.  

edit:  no facials, just some troubling symbolism and writing.  He's the guy Norton Edward's Edward Norton's character in American History X is loosely based on.

edit 2:  names, how do they even?

A few years ago, I happened to have Frank Meeink in my office for a few days, and we got to chat a bit. Great guy. He used to be covered in neo-nazi tats, I think facials and all. A doctor that lost family in the Holocaust did all the removals for free, and I've never met a more grateful man. Such a powerful act, tattoo removal.

edit: no facials, just some troubling . He's the guy Norton Edward's Edward Norton's character in American History X is loosely based on.

edit 2: names, how do they even?

Which is reasonable. That tattoo of a penis on your back needs to stay there just to remind you of how stupid you once were.

It's there so I can make a come back!

When I was incarcerated in the California Youth Authority, they had the tattoo removal program. They only offered it if you had tats on your face, hands or neck.

A lot of times inmates will get tats because their particular ingroup requires it. They frequently regret them once they get out, but have to comply inside or risk retribution.

Good on you, LA.

I worked in a maximum security jail for almost a decade. I actually know what I'm talking about.

Who is this Norton Edward fellow? Is he the one from the Credible Hulk movie?

it'll cost you 7 cigarettes and that sharpened toothbrush under your bed though.

Edward Norton*

No, Norton is the antivirus guy.

Unless you're in a prison with a lot of multi-decade/lifetime sentences

Doesn't that apply to your experience then?

I'm curious if they have a drug program too? I would love to see instead of incarcerating for drug abuse that they are automatically placed in a treatment program to get cleaned. I know that is a stretch but I believe in only incarcerating violent criminals and not people who have drug addictions.

I know that is a stretch

It's such a shame that it is. In the 1970s, credible academics were discussing whether societies needed to have prisons at all. The idea was prisons were going to slowly fade away and we'd come up with better ways to deal with criminals, even violent criminals. Then we started a pointless, harmful, oppressive War on Drugs and got the opposite of prison abolition: mass incarceration. Now the idea that we should set free everyone convicted of drug dealing is considered fringe lunacy, when forty years ago it was pretty obvious that's what should happen.

They should make this available to prisoners in the drunk tank. They'd wake up from a blackout with a missing tattoo.

exbikers and gangsters etc. are very often power full speakers, if not for guys like this I would not be where I am today. I have one tat from my "bad ol days" that I have a love hate relationship with. It's just a narcotics anonymous logo tattoo, I got it to show commitment, but I have moved on now...I no longer do hard drugs, but I do drink a bit and smoke pot on occasion. Part of me says leave it on, it gets people talking sometimes...and the other says I am sending the wrong message when they see me smoking a J in public. ( I have a card, I`m still a biker, and I don't even try to hide it)

Yes, it does. I clarified a bit lower that he's not wrong in some cases.

I used to work in a dermatology clinic that offered free laser tattoo removal for sex trade victims that had been branded by their pimps. I would envision them at least considering offering similar services for reformed ex-convicts.

have you ever been in jail? Those groups are nowhere nearly as popular or established as media would portray it. People don't just go around stabbing you because you didn't get a tat, sat in the wrong place, etc.

Most everyone in there is fighting a case or just trying to get through the time they were given. They don't want to make their case worse or risk getting another charge that makes their stay longer.

Unless you're in a prison with a lot of multi-decade/lifetime sentences you will find that the people are in quite good behavior.

These days most inmates don't waste time over petty shit like that, just because people are criminals doesn't mean that they are terrible people. Most poeple in there just made one mistake or occasionally lose control but overall they are just normal people who are paying for their mistakes.

I'd put good money on the fact that if everyone always got caught well over 50% of the population would be in jail/prison for some illegal/bad action they did.

Unless you're provoking someone and being a complete asshat you shouldn't be fearful of other people in prison. If anything the gaurds are the ones you have to worry about. Most of them are powerhungry and love to take out their stress and anger out on prisioners that just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Who the hell told you the BS you just spewed? I come from a pretty shitty family so needless to say I have a lot of family members that have been in prison, including my father four times during my life. He never was in for violent crimes, mostly theft (cars, electronics, jewelry, etc.). He was never in a big maximum security prison but he was in work camps and I guess standard lower security prisons in Pennsylvania and Florida.

Unless you're provoking someone and being a complete asshat you shouldn't be fearful of other people in prison

This is bullshit. My father and cousin (who spent time in prison for robbing some people with a firearm) told me about how you can't walk in certain areas or you'd get jumped. My dad who no bs is a tough dude told me he'd have to walk out of his area and take an extra ten minutes to get to where he was going every morning because he couldn't walk through some Hispanic gangs' area. Prison is HIGHLY segregated by race and gang affiliation.

Both of them had altercations in prison that left scars on their face over stupid wrong place wrong time bs.

Seriously though, you seem to not know what you're talking about and I'm not sure who told you that but your information was wrong.

Edit- Just to add some fact to this. Here's an article outlining violence in the prison system.

there were 1.2 million violent crimes reported to the FBI by police departments across the country in 2012, and a little more than 5.8 million self-reported by inmates that same year, according to the BJS survey

Just over 2 million inmates in this country but nearly 6 million violent crimes committed in the prison system, but yeah you shouldn't be fearful of people if you go to prison.

Both being a convict and having obscene tattoos can hinder a person from getting a job. A person may be willing to interview a convict but then may be turned off by excessive gang or racist tattoos. If this helps a few people get jobs, it's worth it.

Besides, working isn't the only benefit. Having gang tattoos makes it hard for these people to separate from their former lives. Even if they've moved on, their skin is telling rival gangs that they are still a member. This is a great program.

No, you're thinking of the guy from Flight Crew.

Malcolm History X

I work at a rehab center, and some judges do send drug addicts to rehab instead of prison, then probation for some years. The only catch is that they have to be able to afford it on their own, or through their insurance. And rehab doesn't always help either, unless that person wants help, so pushing all addicts into rehab automatically would just be a waste of time and money.


I am a retired corrections officer. I worked in a state prison for 26 years. Tattoo removal is a very good thing. And I commend the people who volunteer their time and services to help those who want to do better.

One other thing I thought should be offered is free sterilization; as in vasectomies and tubal ligations. It would be completely voluntary and the inmate would have to sign a paper attesting that he/she is doing it voluntarily and knows that the procedure is permanent and relieves the state of any liability.

I believe that because most felons will continue on in their criminal lifestyle that this would prevent a lot of children being born into bad situations.

Malcolm in the Middle History X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Quoting from the article:

"A Priceless Benefit at No Private or Public Cost"

"Yet the Inmate Welfare Fund fully pays for all expenditures connected to the Tattoo Removal Service, incurring no additional outlay from the Sheriff's Department or the public."

The Inmate Welfare Fund comes from a "tax" on the purchase of goods from a store operated in conjunction with the county jail. Thus the only people who pay for it is the Inmates themselves (and maybe those who buy stuff for them e.g. relatives). The fund exists to fund programs for the betterment of the Inmates and this seems to be a relatively low cost way to provide this service to all inmates.

Boo this man

A lot of these inmates are going to be out some day. Better to help them stay out and contribute to society instead of adding more years to crimes as a deterrent.

You could try seeing your tattoo as a photograph of the time you got it in rather than an indication that you are living through that time, but I definitely understand how you feel.

The public opinion is a strong one.


with gold

Whatever upfront public cost is paid will probably make up for itself later when even some of those inmates get a fresh start and never come back to prison because of programs like this. Reducing recidivism (repeat offenses) is key.


It originally ends with Edward Norton's character looking at himself in the mirror and shaving his head.

Malcolm in the Middle History X?

Hot damn I love American History X and never knew it was loosely based on a real dude.

Malcolm in the Middle History X-Men Origins: Dances with Wolverines

Then he looks into the camera and winks while "Born to Be Wild" starts playing as the credits roll.

You might be surprised how much it meant to you if you get it removed. It's a constant reminder of a really good change you made in your life that you deserve to be proud of. Some strangers might think the wrong thing, but anyone who knows the story behind it surely couldn't think less of you

I'm too lazy to find the numbers, but depending on the rate of getting a job with/without tattoos and the rate of recidivism with/without a job, it could pay for itself in more people paying taxes and not having to pay to keep them in prison. I'm not sure, but I think it would be much easier to get a job without gang tattoos and the perpetually unemployed would be much more likely to return to crime. Given that a tattoo removal costs about as much as a month in prison, I think it will break even.

Thanks for sharing this.

I would like to emphasis that this program largely exists because of Homeboy Industries and Homeboy exists because of Greg Boyle and he wrote a memoir titled Tattoos on the Heart and it's a must read...or rather listen because this gentle soul narrates it himself and with Audible's great listen guarantee, it's a win-win.

OK. Bye.

I wonder what the difference is in cost of recouping/profiting off running those machines vs what the cost of operation is. I don't see how it's bad publicity to run those machines at cost for this program and accept donations for the program. If you are place that owns a machine to do this. You'd probably end up making money.


TIL A $15 can of Bugler tobacco can go for as much as $500 in prison

How much a toothpaste tube crackpipe

Of all the X-Men movies (Last Stand, First Class, Days of Future Past) you choose the one that ends with the word Wolverine.

You really fucked us here Badger.

It really is an OM symbol. I'm saying this as a Hindu - and an actual, professional scholar of Hinduism/South Asian religion and music.

OM is really a sound, not a symbol. The symbol we use is just the letter that represents that sound in the alphabet used for Sanskrit. Like the English alphabet, you can do letters in all kinds of different fonts or styles without them being "wrong."

So I guarantee - that OM is absolutely fine, if that's your concern.

If you don't like it because it represents something you do not really believe in, then I totally understand. But don't worry about it being a "fake" symbol - heck my wife has an OM tattoo that looks very similar

Yeah they'll remove your tattoos as well. They dont judge.

Finally something that actally fucking helps someone.

Offering tattoo removal is a great thing to tie into rehabilitation. I always get upset that so many justice systems in this world seek to only punish criminals and never allow them to rehabilitate and return to the world as a productive member of society, but it's nice that at least some places make the steps to help them get rid of their regretful bad past. First time in a while I've seen an uplifting post and actually feel uplifted. I hope more places take more steps to rehabilitate criminals, so we can reduce crime and give them another chance at life.

this one by Father Greg himself

The article says the program is "a joint program of the Inmate Services Bureau's Education Based Incarceration (EBI) unit, the Medical Services Bureau, and Homeboy Industries"

My favorite presentation on Homeboy Industries is .

Yet another reason prohibition will never work. Incarceration or treatment aren't always the best options. Some people just don't want to quit (for whatever reason) and sending them to jail will probably just make them an actual criminal, not just a drug user.

And now with President trump on a possible horizon, nothing is going to change. At least not any time soon.

Too bad free market capitalism allowed institutions like the 'corrections' system to be bastardized by profiteers who invested in mass incarceration and lobbied Congress to keep our laws archaic.

Same. Yesterday I read about the original ending and kinda died inside.

Omg dad no


Homeboy industries, a non-profit helping ex-felons has been offering this service in LA free for a few years now. They also offer jobs, mental health services, and a host of other free programs. If you haven't heard of them, check out their website. They also have a subsidiary for women called Homegirl cafe serving great food. Worth donating to and the entire the community benefits.



Here's a Vice documentary on a group that does something similar:

kinda a yin yang thing..I love this. Got drunk, got a tat..then woke up it was gone.I swear.

go on? would lve to hear it, without reading the whole thing.

Because integrating these people into society means THEY can pay taxes as well instead of being leeches.

Welcome to the land of opportunity where lots of money is required for even the most basic needs, and can keep you from improving your life with education and healthcare because you are priced out of it, but the chance to get that money is a competition with a very unlevel playing field. Murica :/

I think this would be abused by either the criminals or power-hungry authorities who think they are doing the best for the society. You can't expect a prisoner making this decision without being influenced or coerced by anyone.

"So uhh... Mr. Duke... that's... that's a pretty big swastika on your face... ahem So why do you think you'd be a good fit here at the NAACP?"

I would love this ending. I'm a sucker for "bad" endings. It takes balls to avoid happy endings (not that American History X ended in a happy way at all).

Wow prisons are finally becoming the rehabilitation centers they were supposed to be since the start.

I worked at a tattoo shop that offered removal. Technique was learned from a broken-english manual, and the machine was only $1,300, and we removed many many tattoos without issue.

Jail. I could never do a corrections gig. Too many heads to manage per officer.

I'm sure part of it is the style and subject matter of the prison tattoos that people would want removed. Your fancy professionally done beautifully colored artistic type sleeve with fun pretty stuff might not rule you out of being hired for a decent job. Your prison tattoo of tear drops on your face or white power stuff on your knuckles or gang affiliation on your neck would make you a lot more unappealing.

They do that in portugal

There is also Homeboy Industries which helps with this.

Interesting ending, but I don't think it would make sense. Don't know how he'd be accepted back into the movement after punching their leader and being turned out in prison.

You will take any little bit of help you can get when trying to get a job with a felony.