Over the last four years, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been offering tattoo removal services to inmates who are committed to bettering themselves. The Tattoo Removal Service began in February 2012 and is offered as a joint program of the Inmate Services Bureau, the Medical Services Bureau, and Homeboy Industries.

The tattoo removal program gives inmates who no longer want to be associated with gangs or lifestyles of their past the opportunity to re-enter the community on a clean slate. So far, 2,248 inmates have benefited from the service.

The Tattoo Removal Services is run by trained medical personnel who use a medical-grade laser to break down the tattoo ink for removal. The service is paid for by the Inmate Welfare Fund incurring no private or public cost.

The tattoo program, along with academic, vocational, and life-skills training have helped inmates gain employment and community acceptance in addition to reducing recidivism rates.

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.