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Ohio May Offer Prison Inmates Tattoo Removal Services

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State prison officials say inmates in Ohio prisons may soon be offered tattoo removal services.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction director Annette Chambers-Smith says the state is researching costs and logistics of removing tattoos on prisoners' faces, necks and hands. She says tattoos can hurt inmates' job prospects once they are released.

Chambers-Smith says funding could come from the department's medical budget or from fees collected from inmates when they buy items from prison commissaries. She says the state will seek proposals from those who provide removal services.

Department rules bar inmates from having tattooing equipment and from getting tattoos inside the prisons. The use of non-sterile equipment for tattooing can cause infections and spread diseases. Tattoos also can signal gang membership.