KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One felon is hoping there’s a life past prison. He believes it could happen if people could see past his pain.
So the owner of a Northland tattoo parlor is helping him get his tattoos removed.
“At a point in time, I planned on being this guy,” Brian Jones said. “I just didn’t plan on being this ugly doing it with the tattoos.”
Jones admits he’s hurt people. Beat them. Scared them. He also went to prison, time and time again.
“Everybody in the penitentiary had a lot of tattoos, and I thought it looked good,” Jones said. “I looked up to them, and I was like, ‘I’m going to get a tattoo, too.'”
The choices he made are now displayed on his face. Pain is written above his eyebrow. Sin is inscribed in large letters on his chin. A devil horn with a skull frames his face. Under his eye is a clover, and on the top of his head is a large 816.
Those were all choices he wishes he could take back, but he said the most recent choice he’s made in his life has been the most important.
Jones got out of prison at Crossroads Correctional around a year ago. He said after he got out, he fell back into old habits because he was spending time with people who were still making poor choices.
But now he’s been sober for around three months despite not having a home or a family support system after his choices strained his relationships.
“That’s why I changed my life and turned it over to God because I just want to be normal person,” Jones said.
Jones found a church through a woman he met who gave him something to drink. He’s been living at his church, waiting to find safe housing.
“I was out here with nothing,” Jones said. “You can either get high or crawl under a rock and die, or you can come back from it. And you’re not going to do it getting high, and I’m not going to go out like that. I’m not going to end up like that in life so I’m going to come back from this.”
At church, Jones gave his life to Jesus, and that’s where he was connected with Russ Quinn, the owner of Divine Tattoo Parlor in the Northland.
“My life was a disaster,” Quinn said. “As soon as I made that decision to give all that stuff up and move forward, my life has totally changed.”
He struggled with drugs and served time in jail, but came through. Quinn offered to remove his tattoos for free.
“I really wasn’t expecting what I saw when he walked through the door, but I had been in that position before, and I just kind of wanted to pay it forward,” Quinn said.
He’s hoping this gift will help Jones get a job and start a new path in his life.
“This process was definitely a Godsend for me,” Quinn said. “I try to walk in faith myself. I’m just grateful, and thankful that I can go through this process with him. This life-changing process for Brian to be able to move forward with his life because I’m a firm believer everybody needs a second chance in life.”
Over the next six months, Quinn will help Jones peel away the mask he made so he can get to know a new reflection.
“God is real,” Jones said. “Have faith in God and Jesus and the people around you that believe in God and Jesus. Have faith in your community — and drugs kill. Drugs cause all the problems. Violence is not the solution for anything.”
Jones is hoping if he continues to stay sober and make positive changes in his life he can reconnect with his 20-year-old son.
“I hope that the sees him who made him, his dad, went out with some class. He went out on top,” he said.
Jones is hoping to find a job working with his hands and is open to any job opportunity. If you would like to help him with a job or housing you can contact Divine Tattoo Parlor, and they can get you in contact.