ICYMI: Shasta County Launches Tattoo Removal Program for Victims of Gangs and Trafficking


From KRCR. By Mike Mangas and Adam Robinson.

REDDING, Cali. – May 16, 2024 - Sometimes we make poor decisions, some of them can be corrected quickly and easily, other can affect us for years.

Shasta Community Health Center and the Shasta County Probation Department have formed a tattoo removal partnership: the county buying the laser equipment, the health center operating it.

This is not for removing an old girlfriend’s name, it’s often for someone who has been forced to be tattooed.

“We’re really focusing on tattoos that were a barrier to employment, so facial tattoos, neck tattoos, gang related…those kind of tattoos. So, that was kind of the focus as well as individuals who had been tattooed because of human trafficking,” said Tracy Neal, Shasta County Probation Chief.

“The patient was in prison for some reason, or in jail, and, for reasons of self-preservation, had to be a part of a certain gang in that prison, and so they had to have a certain tattoo on their face…that identified them as part of that gang. And now, ten, twelve, fifteen years have passed, and they still have this and…employers don’t want to hire them, understandably,” explained Dr. Doug Mcmullin, Shasta Community Health Center.

Steven Billups is having a facial tattoo removed. “I feel like this has been a barrier at times. You know, even though tattoos nowadays are a lot more accepted, I feel like, I still feel that I get judged,” he said.

Whereas Kara Cossairt just made a poor decision. “Well I got my brother’s initials when he was learning how to tattoo. We thought it was a good idea for him to practice on me. And now, they don’t look so great,” Cossairt said

Right now, the tattoo removals are low or not cost, on a sliding scale. Again, it’s supposed to be gang or human trafficking-related, or a barrier to getting a job.

The process can take a year or two, depending on the tattoo, and they say removing one hurts about the same as getting one.

If you’re interesting, contact Shasta Community Health Center at (530) 246-5710, or go to www.shastahealth.org.

Read the full article and watch the news coverage HERE.