Escondido Gang Reduction Intervention Prevention (EGRIP) Taskforce held a press conference Friday morning at Neighborhood Healthcare to unveil the North County Tattoo Removal Program.
Present at the press conference was Fifth District Supervisor Bill Horn, Escondido Chief of Police Craig Carter, Dr. James Schultz, of Neighborhood Healthcare; and Patricia Huerta, executive director of Escondido Education COMPACT EGRIP Taskforce.
This program has been the vision of the EGRIP Task Force, under the leadership of Chief Craig Carter for almost 10 years. The program which is funded through a CalGRIP grant from the California BSCC in Escondido and Vista will begin offering free tattoo removal services for youth and young adults who have visible gang tattoos on their face, neck and/or hands that are preventing them from gaining employment and leaving the gang life behind them.
This program has been an identified gap in services. There are currently no free or reduced Gang TattooRemoval services in North County. While participants are going through the removal process they will also receive services to help them attain their high school diploma, GED or gain employment.
Supervisor Bill Horn granted the program the money to purchase a laser tattoo removal machine through Neighborhood Reinvestment funds. The machine itself will cost just over $100,000. The program is a partnership between Escondido Police, City of Vista, Escondido Education COMPACT and Neighborhood Healthcare.
The program is also supported by the North County Comprehensive Gang Subcommittee which has an extensive membership; including mayors from all North County cities, the District Attorney’s office, SD County Probation, County of SD, HHSA, San Diego County Sheriff’s, Oceanside and Escondido Police Department as well as North County Service Providers.
Those interested in learning more about the program, or to get more information on how to participate in the program, can call the Escondido Education COMPACT at 760-839-4515.