El Salvadorian prison inmates cross through distinctive gang tattoos

The El Salvadoran gangsters who are pleading for laser tattoo removal as they attempt to move on from their criminal pasts and ‘youthful mistakes’

  • Photos taken at Santa Ana prison, 60 km northwest of San Salvador, show the extent of the gangland tattoos 
  • Former members of Salvadoran gangs – MS-13 and Barrio 18- say they want laser tattoo removal for fresh start
  • Many are branded with the initials of the gangs they call ‘youthful mistakes’ as they try to educate themselves

Former members of El Salvador’s most notorious gangs say they would be willing to get their gang tattoos removed with lasers in order to have a fresh start.

Covered head to toe in heavily pigmented tattoos the former members of Salvadoran gangs – mostly of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 – claim to be willing to endure painful laser tattoo removal in order to rid themselves of the branding. 

The process that can take years to erase tattoos could be used to help cleanse the criminal’s bodies of what they call ‘youth mistakes’.

Photos taken at Santa Ana prison, 60 km northwest of San Salvador, show the extent of the gangland imagery permanently etched onto the bodies and faces of former members.

Former MS-13 gang leader Valmis Mejia a.k.a. ‘el Bambi’, is pictured at Santa Ana prison, 60 km northwest of San Salvador

 

Former members of MS-13 gang weave hammocks at Santa Ana prison to keep busy and work towards a future for themselves

Prison inmates can be seen waiting outside a classroom, giving a menacing look to the camera 

Former gang members read books and knit at Santa Ana prison, 60 km northwest of San Salvador, on May 21, 2019

 

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