In our tattoo removal work, we are deeply grateful for the chance to make a material difference in people’s lives. One client named John, who spent 12 years in the prison system for armed robbery, ended up with tattoos that he never would have gotten in the outside world. While taking full ownership of the mistakes he made in the past, he is now focused on moving forward in his life—which includes removing tattoos on his head depicting hateful symbols that he got while in prison.
It was all about survival
In prison, people are segregated by race, gang tattoos and white supremacist tattoos are par for the course, says John. “There is immense violence across racial lines,” he explains. “Everyone that’s in the prison system at that high level is pretty much designated to be in a gang.”
That’s how he ended up having hate symbols prominently tattooed on his head. They were simply part of his daily survival, an effort to ally with those who would have his back when violence erupted.
“Those symbols—they don’t have a place in American society,” he says. “America, to me, is what it has been for my entire life. It’s a land full of different cultures, different ways of thinking, and different people. That’s one of our strengths.”
Moving on with his life
John has been getting used to the idea that the world around him is no longer so violent. In the prison yard, he couldn’t afford to be concerned about how his tattoos made other people feel. But out here, that’s no longer the case.
And so, he knew it was time to have them removed. “Removing the tattoo is the last step to severing myself from that world,” he says.
Plus, the tattoos were constantly giving people a negative impression of him. “I feel like if people look at me, there’s no doubt in their mind that I’m a convict,” he says.
Removery offered to remove his tattoos for free through their Ink-nitiative tattoo removal program which is designed to help former inmates reintegrate into society. Ink-nitiative is dedicated to removing tattoos for free from those who were or are incarcerated, have gang-related tattoos, hate symbols, and racial tattoos were victims of human trafficking and domestic abuse. This initiative is designed to help those reintegrate into society and better their future from the past by removing tattoos from the hands, neck, face, and other visible areas. “It’s a noble thing for someone to do,” John affirms. He notes that many other people are bound to their life in prison by their tattoos, whether they have gang tattoos or symbols of radicalization on their bodies. He hopes that many of the young people he saw going into prison will also have the opportunity to remove their tattoos so they’ll have the best chance to turn their lives around.
Started in the North East, Removery has recently implemented this initiative into their Texas clinics in order to service more people like John. With ten locations in Texas across Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, and El Paso they have expanded their programs market to help more people in need of tattoo removal. Anyone who fits the program’s criteria can apply, and if you or someone you know can benefit from their initiative, please click the button below to fill out the form.