Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif) added funding to allow Providence Health & Services to purchase a $200,000 tattoo-removing laser to expand their ten year-old program that removes gang-sign tattoos. The program, run out of North Hollywood, has removed tattoos from 12,000 former gang members, helping them get jobs with employers who otherwise would not hire them. Berman spokesman says the program actually makes the streets safer for all Southern California residents. “When former gang members with these tattoos go walking around, they become targets of drive-bys and other shootings” he said.
Editor’s Note: This article appeared in the March 9, 2009 issue of Modern Healthcare magazine. Appropriately, the beneficiaries of the plan are residents of California.