Released Offenders Erase Marks Of The Past 3/23/13
CBS 7 News
March 23, 2013
MIDLAND-After time in prison, it's hard for people on supervised release -- like John Maddox to get back into a routine.
In a world where first impressions are key--many businesses won’t hire people with visible tattoos.
There's one program right here in midland that's helping people like Maddox move forward by erasing the past.
For Maddox, a tattoo on his right hand became a little more than a regret.
"Anytime I was in public I felt like I was being looked at and judged, and not in a good way,” Maddox said.
Since his release from federal prison, Maddox is one of many each month offered the chance to erase the past, and remove a tattoo after serving time.
"It’s preventing them from getting jobs” said Mel Bullock, director of clinical operations at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, he is one of the clinicians who removes the tattoos. “Without these jobs, they are going to go right back into the judicial system and back into a penitentary.”
Using a special tool, clinicians shine a bright light through a sapphire to eliminate the ink in the skin. It leaves behind burns that eventually heal where the tattoos used to be.
The removals focus on tattoos like gang signs, but also anything that could turn employers away.
"Since the program started we have heard of some of our clients getting jobs and even promotions after removing tattoos,” said Noelia Guevara, a U.S. Probation officer.
The special clinic is open once-a-month for former inmates and gang members, but they may also take other candidates. It's entirely self-sustaining, clinicians volunteer and patients pay a modest $50 dollar fee for each removal session.
To qualify, you do need to make an appointment through your parole officer or contact the program directly at (432) 686-4060 ext. 2225.