Pauline Polk plays with a dog during a daily walk at the San Luis Obispo County Department of Animal Services. While incarcerated, Pauline worked at the pound and after her release, she continued to volunteer there before work at Woods Humane Society. She attends CAPSLO’s Liberty Tattoo Removal Program because her new job requires her to cover up the tattoos on her arms. (July 28, 2014)

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The Liberty Tattoo Removal program in San Luis Obispo affords its clients a fresh start with free tattoo removal sessions. The program, which operates under the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO) in California, accepts clients who seek employment, education and community acceptance after prison or gang involvement. Many of the clients involved with the tattoo removal clinic are making progress with their efforts to find job, reconnect with their families, and readjust into society.

Pauline Polk moves a cat at the San Luis Obispo County Department of Animal Services to clean its cage. While incarcerated, Pauline worked at the pound and after her release, she continued to volunteer there before work at Woods Humane Society. (July 25, 2014)

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A volunteer applies numbing cream to the back of Pauline’s ear before the laser tattoo removal treatment at the Sierra Vista Hospital in San Luis Obispo. (June 28, 2014)

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Pauline Polk undergoes laser treatment to remove the tattoos behind her ear, on her wrists, and on her body. (June 28, 2014)

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Paul, a volunteer, shows the old tattoos he’s having removed. During his 27-year prison sentence, Paul volunteered for prison hospice services and currently works in landscaping. (June 28, 2014)

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Paul exits the laser treatment area. 

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Santana Courtright

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Santana Courtright waits for another laser removal treatment. (June 28, 2014)

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Santana Courtright cools down after a run on the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo, CA. After her release from the Honor Farm in June, Santana has been training for an October half-marathon, reconnecting with her children, and working to return to Cuesta Community College. (July 28, 2014)

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CAPSLO volunteer Taryn points out where tattoos used to have a strong, visible presence on Michael’s face. (June 28, 2014)

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Michael Macias, a client of the CAPSLO Liberty Tattoo Removal program, applies aloe vera to his face after a laser removal session at Sierra Vista Hospital in San Luis Obispo, CA. The program offers free tattoo removal for those who feel old ink prevents them from moving forward with their lives.

After his release from the SLO County prison system, Macias worked to distance himself from his former gang life by opening his own car detailing business and removing the remnants of his “stick-n-poke” tattoos through CAPSLO’s program. (June 28, 2014).

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CAPSLO volunteer Taryn applies numbing cream to the back of Joe’s head. (June 28, 2014)

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The doctor examines Joe’s facial tattoos before his treatment. (June 28, 2014)

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