Denver Program Helps Ex-Gang Members Get Jobs By Removing Tattoos


Some 40 former Denver gang members will have gang tattoos removed this year through a program run by the nonprofit Gang Rescue and Support Project, or GRASP, says the Denver Post. When gang members come to GRASP, “the first thing they say is, ‘I need a job,’ ” said Johnny Santos, who runs the program. “We say, ‘OK, tell us what the roadblocks are.’ They show us the tattoos.”

The crude brand on the inside of one girl’s arm says “CMG,” and below it “Bloods.” When she was 12, her then-16-year-old and now former boyfriend inscribed her arm using a homemade tattoo gun. Lexi was expelled from middle school in sixth grade. She finished middle school in a special program for at-risk kids. She plans to attend high school and would like to become a doctor. Laser removal of tattoos is a long, painful process. Without GRASP, it would be far too expensive for ex-gang members.

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