Patrick Jackson, 39, has more tattoos than he’s ever counted – Body ink that represents his former life of crime in Stockton, California.

“Gangbanging, selling drugs, pimping, and kidnapping,” Jackson described the life he began at 14-years-old; the life before spending 11 years in prison.

Now that he’s out and has a daughter the same age as when he was pulled down a dark path, he wants to erase the images of bones, guns, and other symbols that serve as a reminder of his criminal past.

Dozens of others met in the parking lot of Stockton’s “Friends Outside,” an organization that helps former prisoners and their families. The group partnered with “InkOff.Me”, a Sacramento based company that donated their laser removal services on Friday.

“We call ‘em job stoppers,” said Chris Bendinelli of InkOff.Me.

Tattoos on necks, faces, and arms – Publicly visible ink can thwart those trying to get jobs and those trying to start over. A laser tattoo removal session can cost around $500, but most tattoos require many sessions over months and even years before they’re completely erased.

The process is also a painful one, as short burst of intense lasers zap the skin to break up the ink.

Although, Melissa DeJesus of Friends Outside said the two years of sessions have been worth it.

“I want to look and feel and see when I look in the mirror who I am today,” DeJesus said. “I don’t want reminders of who I was.”

The two groups are planning another similar event this August.

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