Mark Drevno, founder and executive director of Jails to Jobs, has received the Jefferson Award for Public Service for his work to help those leaving prison, ex-gang members and victims of human trafficking remove their visible anti-social tattoos.
The award, given by KPIX, the San Francisco Bay Area CBS owned and operated television station, recognizes those who make a contribution to their local community. Drevno’s award was featured on both KPIX-TV CBS television and KCBS radio. Here is a link to the television video of the broadcast.
The Jefferson Awards were established in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft, Jr., and Sam Beard to celebrate greatness in service.
Jails to Jobs tattoo removal program
Drevno, who founded Jails to Jobs in 2012, led the organization in its launch of a tattoo removal program. Based on the tremendous interest in articles focusing on tattoo removal on the organization’s website, Jails to Jobs had created a national directory of free and low-cost tattoo removal programs, which now has over 300 programs in 42 states. Since it was incorporated into the J2J website six years ago, the directory has helped thousands of people find tattoo removal programs that are free or low-cost.
In late 2017, Jails to Jobs took its tattoo removal efforts one step further by establishing its own program. The organization works with a number of local health care providers to remove visible anti-social and gang related tattoos from its clients.
In the first year or so since the program was launched, Jails to Jobs has been a resource for nearly 200 people in getting their tattoos removed. Those in the San Francisco Bay Area with anti-social or gang-related and human trafficking tattoos who would like to participate are welcome apply by email.
Once approved, they are set up with the first of what will be a series of appointments. It can take a number of sessions to remove tattoos, depending on how long a person has had a tattoo, whether it was done by an amateur or a professional, where it is located on someone’s body, skin type and the colors of the tattoo.
Benefits of tattoo removal
But no matter how long the process, tattoo removal is an essential step for intrinsically motivated individuals who have anti-social or gang-related tattoos. Without taking this step, it will be difficult for them to launch a new life and be successful in their search for employment and beyond.
We’ve learned that many of those who have gone through tattoo removal compare their experience to an awakening of sorts. Like the clearing of a new path, reconnecting with their best self. Washing away the symbols of an identity they no longer wish to embrace and freeing themselves. Freeing themselves for new opportunities. For a chance at employment. For many it offers the possibility to be a good role model, especially for their children and young relatives. To show them that there is a better way to live.
And Jails to Jobs is determined to be a resource in the process. In order to do that for an increasing number of people, the organization plans to expand its program by adding more health care providers and extra clinic days.
In the meantime, we’d like to thank CBS for recognizing us for the work we do.
$10-$20 can make a difference and provide funding to send job search books to prison and jail libraries and expand our tattoo removal outreach.