Prison Tattoos And Their Meanings

Use this information to keep yourselves and your coworkers safe

Jail staff can stay safer by knowing as much as they can about inmates. And sometimes, inmates make it easy to know exactly what they’ve been up to through the use of tattoos.

1488

This number can be found on white supremacist/Nazi inmates. The numbers 14 or 88 on their own can also be used, which sometimes creates confusion.

Fourteen represents fourteen words, which are a quote by Nazi leader David Lane: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.” The 88 is shorthand for the 8th letter of the alphabet twice, HH, which represents Heil Hitler. Typically, these tattoos can be found anywhere on the body.

 

The Cobweb

Cobwebs typically represent a lengthy term in prison. The symbolism is associated with spiders trapping prey; or criminals trapped behind bars. This tattoo is commonly found on the elbow, signifying sitting around so long with your elbows on the table that a spider made a web on your elbow, though it can also be located on the neck.

If you see a multi-colored web, it’s probably not a prison tattoo; tattoo ‘artists’ in jail rarely have access to colored ink.

 

Teardrop (Photo trendfashion2013)

One of the most widely recognized prison tattoos, the teardrop’s meaning varies geographically. In some places, the tattoo can mean a lengthy prison sentence, while in others it signifies that the wearer has committed murder.

If the teardrop is just an outline, it can symbolize an attempted murder. It can also mean that one of the inmate’s friends was murdered and that they are seeking revenge.

 

Five-point crown

This is the symbol of the Latin Kings gang, which is one of the biggest Hispanic gangs in the U.S. based out of Chicago. The crown will often be accompanied by the letters ALKN, which stands for Almighty Latin Kings Nation. The five points are due to the Latin Kings being an affiliate of the People Nation gang, which is represented by the number five.

The clock with no hands

This tattoo is, fairly obviously, representative of ‘doing time’ and doing a lot of it. Those serving a longer sentence might get this tattoo done on their wrist, with watch straps and all, much like a real watch.

The clock face itself can come in a few forms, such as the face of a wall clock or a grandfather clock. Not all clock tattoos are tied to prison; generally just the ones lacking hands.

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