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Tattoo Removal Services

This program provides free tattoo removal treatments for youth in OYA custody. The program is designed to help youth who wish to remove gang-related, antisocial or human trafficking tattoos. This program is voluntary, and youth are not forced to participate. 

Who Is Eligible
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The program is available for free to all youth in OYA custody, no matter where they are living. 

To participate, they must be able to travel to MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn for their treatments.

OYA provides transportation to MacLaren for approved youth in our close-custody facilities.

Youth who are interested in the program must get a referral from their living unit manager, parole or probation officer, or any other OYA staff member. 

Why It’s Important

Once released from OYA custody, youth sometimes face barriers to maintaining a safe and healthy life because their tattoos prevent them from finding jobs or social acceptance. 

Public perception of gang-related or antisocial tattoos may:
  • Impede youth from associating with positive peer groups
  • Limit opportunities for employment
  • Delay dissociation from previous antisocial/criminal behavior

How It Works

The program consists of a team of volunteer doctors led by Dr. Carolyn Hale, a volunteer nurse, and OYA staff from the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations.

Typically, at least five laser removal sessions are needed to fully remove a tattoo. However, this depends on the tattoo’s size, color, and type of ink used.

All offensive tattoos must be removed unless prior arrangement or agreement is made with the tattoo removal program coordinator. Youth cannot pick and choose which tattoos they want removed when the tattoos are antisocial/gang related. 


Javier Meza-Perfecto