Gang tattoos are often used as a form of identification among members of a particular gang. They can also be used to show allegiance to a particular gang, or to mark someone as a former gang member. Prison tattoos are usually more crude and basic than those done by professional tattoo artists, but they can still be quite meaningful.
Some common prison tattoos and their meanings include:
– A teardrop below the eye: This tattoo is said to represent either the number of years a person has spent in prison, or the number of people they have killed. It can also indicate that the wearer is a member of a particular gang.
– A cross on the webbing between the thumb and forefinger: This tattoo is said to represent the number of years a person has been sentenced to prison.
– A spider web on the elbow: This tattoo is said to represent the fact that the wearer has done time in prison. It can also indicate that the person is a member of a particular gang.
– A barbed wire fence around the wrist: This tattoo is said to represent the pain and suffering that a person has endured while in prison.
– A dagger through the heart: This tattoo is said to represent the murder of a rival gang member, or someone who has betrayed the wearer’s trust.
– A rose: This tattoo can symbolize either love or hate, depending on the context in which it is used. It can also be used to represent a particular gang affiliation.
– A skull: This tattoo is often used to symbolize death or danger. It can also indicate that the wearer is a member of a particular gang.
Tattoos in Prisons – Although many penal institutions have a mission statement and a list of behavioral rules, tattooing is rarely regulated. Tattooing is generally prohibited within prisons.
Prohibition of tattoos – The reality of tattoo prohibition is de jure. There are no penalties for tattoos. It’s a minor infraction. Formal rules aren’t as important, but in practice, the penalties are much more severe. This is due to the link between tattoos and gangs. Once you’ve been labeled a gang member by the parole board, they convert the rest of your stay into solitary confinement. When cognitive functioning decreases inside solitary confinement, it deteriorates.)
Tattoos as a form of communication – can be used to display affiliations, rank, and history. Also used as a form of identification (social security number, phone number, etc.).
Gang tattoos – often used to show loyalty to a particular gang. Can also indicate rank within the gang.
Prison tattoos – often used to show the length of time served in prison. Can also be used to show which crimes were committed.
Tattoos as a form of self-expression – can be used to express religious or political beliefs. Can also be used to show support for a particular cause.
Cocktails were invented to cover the awful flavor of home-made gin. What we did as a means to avoid Prohibition and police surveillance is now seen as a symbol of prosperity (ironic). Methamphetamine was first developed in prison. The fact that items are illegal inside jail has significant secondary effects in actuality.
Even though something is prohibited, if there’s a market for it, it will find a way to get in.
Prisoners have their own culture and language. It helps them cope with the reality of being locked up. It’s a way to express themselves.
Tattoos are one of the things that prisoners use to communicate. They can be used to show affiliation to a certain gang or clique, but they can also be used to tell a story about the person’s life.
Some tattoos are simple and easy to understand, while others are more complex and can only be deciphered by people who are familiar with the prison culture.
Here are some common prison tattoos and their meaning:
Gang tattoos: Gang tattoos are used to show affiliations and loyalty to a certain gang. These kinds of tattoos are usually done in secret, as they can be used to identify members of a rival gang.
About 35% of people between the ages of 25 and 35 get tattoos. Although there is a booming market, there is no widespread illness among private tattooers. Market incentives for competitive tattoo parlors encourage self-regulation and really work. Tattooing is a human capital skill set that ensures your survival in prison’s social hierarchy. People want you alive and will provide protection like any other skill, such as telling jokes.
If you are good at your craft, you can be the go-to person for tattoos in the prison. This gives you a lot of power and protection.
Most popular gangs have their own tattoo designs that show membership. These tattoos can be intricate and often tell the story of the gang’s history and accomplishments. They are also a way to identify other members of the gang, both inside and outside of prison.
Some prisons have banned all tattoos, as they can be used to show gang affiliation. However, many inmates will still find ways to get them, even if it means doing it themselves.
Gang members use tattoos as a communication system. Allowing them would lower the amount of violence in a prison system. Fear is an inevitable part of uncertainty. You bargain or plea before a fight if you know you’ll lose. If you’re uncertain whether you’ll win or lose, you take your chances in battle.
Certain tattoos have very specific meanings that can indicate an inmate’sgang affiliation, level of power and ranking within the gang, or even which crimes they have been convicted of. For example, a teardrop tattoo under the eye can signify that the inmate has killed someone, while three dots in a triangle formation can represent “mi vida loca,” or “my crazy life.”
In addition to indicating an inmate’s criminal history and affiliations, prison tattoos can also be used as a form of communication between inmates. For example, some gangs use tattoos as a code to communicate information about drug shipments or other illegal activities going on inside the prison.
While some prison tattoos are purely decorative, others can have more sinister meanings. For example, a swastika tattoo may indicate that the inmate is a white supremacist, while a “13” tattoo can signify that the inmate is a member of the Aryan Brotherhood.