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The Meaning Behind Prison Tattoos

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We don’t need to mention how dangerous people in prison are and can get, due to the isolation from the real world. Prison has its own language and code of honour; if a newcomer is not aware and respectful of them, he (or she) could face some pretty severe consequences. Guards are also in a tough position, since if they don’t stay in a safe distance from the criminals, they might be savagely attacked. But, what do some of the most usual and popular prison tattoos mean?

1. 1488

14 is a number that white supremacists follow as sacred and 88 is the equivalent of HH, which means ‘Heil Hitler’.

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2. Cobweb

Cobwebs usually mean that someone will stay in prison for the rest of their life. It says that they have been trapped in a cobweb (prison) and can’t get out.

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3. Teardrop

The teardrop usually means that this person has killed someone or attempted to kill. It can also mean that the prisoner has a very long sentence.

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4. Three dots

Three dots around the eyes can means that a prisoner belongs in the Mexican team or that they have a devotion to the Holy Trinity.

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5. Lightning bolts

Two lightning bolts mean allegiance to the Aryan Brotherhood or any other white power group. They have the same shape with the SS, which represented the Nazis.

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6. Deck cards

A deck of cards usually means that the wearer likes gambling or believes that life is a gamble.

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7. ACAB

This tattoo is mostly found in British prisons and it stands for ”All Cops Are Bastards”. It is usually placed on knuckles and the back of the head.

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8. Barbed wire

In Russia, a barbed wire tattoo on the forehead means that the prisoner has a very long sentence without possibility of parole.

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Tattoos help prisoners identify each other without having to talk. This way they know which people they can choose to get closer to and which ones to stay away from.













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