Prison Tattoos and the Meanings Behind Them

Prev1 of 2

Prison tattoos are done with home-made needles and tattoo guns. The “needle” might be part of a paper clip, a staple or a bit of metal guitar string. Usually an empty ballpoint pen will then hold the needle. Ink for this type of tattoo might come from a pen, or it might be made from melted plastic, burned Styrofoam or whatever else the prisoners can find.

Tattoos that mean time incarcerated or are representative of the term or sentence they are serving:


A clock with no hands is usually representative of a long prison sentence.  Many prisoners view time in prison as somewhat meaningless which is exactly what this tattoo is meant to represent.

it means that the person has spent at least some time in a correctional facility

A spider web in prison is usually understood to mean that the wearer has spent some time in a correctional facility. prisoner has served a life sentence

Barbed wire on the forehead often means that the prisoner is serving a life sentence

The five dots, sometimes known as the quincunx, represents time done in prison. The four dots on the outside represent the four walls, and the dot on the inside represents the prisoner.


 *To see MORE and learn about some of the MOST AMAZING tattoo artists of our age, check out these deals from Tattoo Artist Magazine! There’s a reason tattooers themselves consider TAM the most informative and important tattoo magazine ever —

Screen shot 2015-06-29 at 3.41.18 PM


*Be sure to check out the digital issues of Tattoo Artist Magazine ON SALE NOW– JUST $2.99 – $7.99. TAM DIGITAL ISSUES

And look at our $.99 collection of  TAM VIDEO Downloads available now!

Either way, See the BEST TATTOOS from the BEST ARTISTS in the world. Add to your collection today![divider]

Prev1 of 2

Similar Articles