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Tattoo Removal Program Offers LASD Inmates a Clean Slate

December 10, 2015

Supporting Inmate Accountability

Inmates in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department may participate in its Tattoo Removal Service, a joint program of the Inmate Services Bureau's Education Based Incarceration (EBI) unit, the Medical Services Bureau, and Homeboy Industries. Once considered permanent, tattoos are now removable through laser treatments. The highly successful Tattoo Removal Service uses that advanced technology, and benefits inmates who commit to bettering themselves while in custody so they can re-enter our communities truly with "a clean slate."

The Tattoo Removal Service incentivizes inmates to engage in structured academic, vocational, life-skills and other learning opportunities offered by EBI, as participation in those courses and activities makes them eligible for tattoo removal treatments.

Matching Inmate Motivations to Community Interests

Inmates regret having gotten tattoos for varying reasons. Some acquired their first tattoo as young as eleven years old, before they could make a wise decision. For others, a tattoo not done by a skilled professional has produced an unsightly or distorted image. And almost all inmates have experienced the negative social stigma attached to any tattoo--compounded when it's offensive or prominently displayed on the face, neck, or hands. An employer's no-tattoo policy, formal or not, limits released inmates' job and advancement opportunities. Finally, many tattoos are gang-related, and inmates may no longer wish to be associated with that lifestyle. No matter the reason, the Tattoo Removal Program gives these inmates a fresh start, and facilitates their re-integration into the community.

Program Process, History and Success

The tattoo removal process uses a medical-grade laser to produce a short pulse of intense light, which passes through the top layers of skin and is selectively absorbed by the tattoo pigment. This light breaks down the tattoo ink, which is then absorbed by the body, and the tattoo fades. Most patients need three to eight sessions, scheduled every eight weeks, to remove a tattoo completely. Many inmates start by getting one or two tattoos lasered to see the results; not uncommonly, they request treatment of other tattoos because removal is so successful If the removal process takes longer than the inmate's sentence, EBI coordinates with Homeboy Industries to complete the removal at no cost to the released inmate.

The Tattoo Removal Service began in February 2012 as a collaborative partnership between the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Medical Services Bureau, its Inmate Services Bureau, and Homeboy Industries. The service is overseen by trained

Contact Information: Education Based Incarceration Unit - (323) 526-5380,
Tattoo Removal
Tattoo Removal

Laser Removal
Laser Removal

Laser Removal Equipment
Laser Removal Equipment

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