Young people make mistakes. One of those mistakes can be getting a tattoo or multiple tattoos. Lives change, however, and often tattoos can keep young people in a place where they just don’t want or need to be. The tattoo could be gang insignia, an old boyfriend or girlfriend’s name, wanna-be gang symbos or other destructive body markings. Tattoos can cause problems in future relationships, can keep one from productive employment, or brand a person as a gang member. Some tattoos just look trashy.
Members of the Prince William County Department of Social Services and those who donate their time at the Greater Prince William Community Health Center consider the Making a Change Program a huge success for those who take advantage of the program to remove this body ‘art.’ Commitment to change, however, requires a rigorous set of standards. According to Manassas News and Messenger:
The program is a partnership between various local, state and national agencies.
Richard H. Buchholz, with Prince William County’s Gang Response Intervention Team, said it takes at least 10 visits to the clinic before tattoos are completely gone.
He added the participants have to work to be admitted into the program.
Participants must demonstrate their commitment to leaving the gang and not have been involved with any gang activity for at least six months before their first treatment, said Buchholz.
They can’t rack up any new criminal charges, they must be enrolled in school with a good attendance record or have a job or working on getting one if they are no longer in school.
They can’t use alcohol and must be drug-free when they apply to be considered for the MAC program, and if on parole, must be in compliance with all the rules of the their probation.
And they also must compete 50 hours of community service before they even think about attending their first clinical session.
Many of the participants at a recent removal clinic had three dots tattooed into their skin.
Brian L. Coe, with the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the dots signify “living the crazy life” and are common among those in the gang culture.
Hopefully, many young people who have gotten involved with destructive life choices will take advantage of this program and turn themselves around. The change will not be easy. Periodically, our supervisors will donate discretionary funds to this cause. Good for them. I hope all 8 of them will help out with this program.
Helping young people break destructive patterns and behaviors in their life saves us all money in the long run. Getting rid of body marks that tie a young person to unwise life styles seems to be a step in the right direction.
That’s my point of view. What do our contributors think? Is this program worthwhile or should the young people just have to live with their decision? Is there a hidden cost we do not know about? How about …gasp!..illegal alien youth taking advantage of this program? Are they getting something that only American citizens and legal residents should be entitled to?