Here's What Common Prison Tattoos Really Mean

By Staff Writer

The art of tattooing can be traced back to just about every culture in history from the Greeks who used it to communicate to the Romans and Germans who marked prisoners. 

As we compare historical tattooing two what it's become today, it's obvious that symbolism is still a heavy feature. While many modern artists and clients are content with getting certain pieces for the sake of aesthetics rather than meaning, symbolism has always had its place in the practice. 

Most people who get tattoos do so because they have a deeper meaning behind them. But prisoners with tattoos take these secret meanings and hidden symbols to a completely different level. There's basically a tattoo for every occasion in prison, every kind of criminal, and in every culture. It could mean why you've gone to prison or what group you're affiliated with. Some of the tattoos are pretty terrifying when you realize what they mean. 

Today, we're taking a look at some of the most common prison and gang tattoos so we can decode the secret meanings behind them. Let's just say that most of these tattoos aren't common for those who didn't go to prison. What do you think some of these eerie inkings mean? We have the answers!