Run as far away as possible if you see someone with these tattoos.

This tattoo is one of the most well-known designs in the prison world and can have different meanings, but generally, it indicates that an inmate who has a teardrop tattoo under his eye is either serving a long sentence or has already committed a murder. The tear represents mourning and the fact that the inmate cried for someone’s mother who was murdered. This tattoo can also mean that he attempted to commit murder or that a friend of the inmate was murdered and he is seeking revenge. In short, a teardrop filled with ink indicates that the prisoner has committed at least one crime, and in addition, another teardrop is added for each murder committed.

Since the dawn of humanity, tattoos have always been a form of graphic expression, like the famous tribal tattoos, which signify the belonging of individuals to a clan. However, tattoos also represent a body adornment favoured by millions of people from different regions of the world and from different cultures, origins or social classes. Beyond their aesthetic interest, tattoos reveal various aspects and invade all environments. They enter the streets and penetrate prisons, are adopted by the greatest artistic personalities in the world of rap or even sport, become an instrument of discrimination or distinction, but always carry with them the scent of sulphur, rebellion and non-conformity.


And if today, getting a tattoo is a completely banal action, tattoos were initially the prerogative of a minority, individuals considered marginal or even metal fans or punks, but in the prison environment, the tattoo takes on a whole new meaning. What is the meaning of tattoos? Indeed, among prisoners, certain tattoos have a very specific meaning, and if in general they represent a way of showing belonging to a group, or simply a way of imposing oneself and deterring other prisoners, they alone can constitute a real curriculum vitae of the prisoner for those who know how to decipher their meaning, and reveal information such as the number of years spent in prison, for example, or even the prisoner’s criminal record, real identifiers, therefore.

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