Prison Ink: The Art of Hate

 

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I chose this title because the majority of prison tattoos revolve around hate. Not all. But most.

Some guys will get their woman’s name plastered across their neck. So I suppose I could’ve called this post : PRISON INK : THE ART OF LOVE. Because it’s also common to see the faces of loved ones etched in the flesh. Along with their names, birth dates, death dates, anniversary dates, etc.

I’ve seen convicts sporting tattoos of the hand prints and foot prints of their newborns. Just today I saw one that said, ”Family’s gone, but not forgotten.” That was in cursive and on his neck. Then on his left hand was some gang stuff.

So, as you can see, it’s not all about hate. But no matter what, it is all bad. Consider the risks involved, such as transmittable disease, bad ink, getting your ass kicked, infractions, and loosing goodtime.

I just met a guy who got kicked out of The Dog Program because during a strip search they discovered a tattoo of his favorite dog. He told them that the tattoo was old. They asked, ”How old?”

He was honest. He said, ”Over a year ago.”

Book em! It doesn’t matter how old a tattoo is. When a guy comes to prison, DOC documents all scars and tattoos. If you get a new tattoo while in prison, and they discover it 25 years later, it’s a major infraction!

I know this white guy who got “WHITE PRIDE” tattooed down his back arms. The guy who did the tattoo is a black man. When the white fellas (see: prison glossary) found out that a black man tattooed “WHITE PRIDE” on a white boy, they beat the white boys ass.

For months I watched a white tattoo artist sling hate monger ink all over dozens of other white boys. The artist then went and tattooed some gang graffiti on a black man. The white boys beat the artist damn near to death.
Why? Because they felt their new tattoos were somehow tainted because that artist also worked on someone who wasn’t white.

A lot of drama and misconduct goes into getting a prison tattoo. I asked a lot of old timers if they like their tats? Most say no. They regret getting them. And if they could do it over, they would stay away from tattoos.

Tattoos are addictive. Most guys can’t stop at just one. At first they look nice. As the years go by they fade, bleed into the skin, and get blurry. This has a lot to do with the poor quality ink. Guys make ink out of soot and baby oil. As a matter of fact, back in October of 2013, some guys caught the unit on fire as they were making ink. It’s dangerous! On many levels.

 

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This tattoo artist is using a tattoo gun made from random items. The needle is guitar string. The motor came out of a walkman. And the shaft is from a regular Bic pen.

 

This jailhouse tat says WEST SIDE CRIP.
This jailhouse tat says WEST SIDE CRIP.

 

These tattoos are fairly new.
These tattoos are fairly new.

 

In 20 years he'll look like this.
In 20 years he’ll look like this.

 

All these tats were done in prison. Can you tell which guy has been in prison longer? In a matter of months, all that bare skin will be filled up.
All these tats were done in prison. Can you tell which guy has been in prison longer? In a matter of months, all that bare skin will be filled up.

 

See all my tattoos? And I plan to keep it that way. Until I get out.
See all my tattoos? And I plan to keep it that way. Until I get out.

 

NOTE: All pictures were taken from a smuggled-in cell phone. I did 7 months in the hole after I got caught with it years ago. While in the hole I wrote a book called, Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary. Buy the ebook today!

 

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Steven Jennings

Author: Steven & Suzie Jennings

She was raised as a Mormon, and he is a convict serving 43 years in prison. This blog offers a glimpse into two vastly different worlds that somehow came crashing together. Join them on their journey through prison life & married life.

2 thoughts

  1. Wow so cool.. I’ve seen many “prison-tats” from movies. And as i see in general, tattoo could reveal the special one (can be moments, person, etc) in someone’s life. But unfortunately, in my country, Indonesia, tattoo still has a negative stigma. Whoever with tattoo on his body will be assumed as bad person by society. Furthermore in job requirements, having tattoo is something that we can’t have. Btw, good article, dude.

    Like

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