Anyone who has a tattoo has certainly heard the expression: "Tattoo is a chain link thing" or else he saw some badly done tattoo, and titled it as a prisoner thing.

This happens, because before being considered as art, tattooing was and is widely used to identify tribes, peoples, hierarchies and to mark criminals.

The process of tagging people comes from the marks found in the primitive tribes of Brazil and in ancient barbarian peoples who already used marks on the bodies to separate and identify the criminals of the time. Unlike the tattoo done by those who want to adorn the body, with a design or phrase intended to make it more beautiful, the prison tattoo is made strictly to mark without the intention of "embellishing".

The drawings used are made to be interpreted only by those who live in the universe of criminality and the more exposed the location of the body chosen for the tattoo, the more enigmatic and secretive is its meaning.

Prison tattoos are used for communication between criminals, they can be present for criminal exploits practiced, punishment for some crime not accepted by inmates as an example rape, to identify the hierarchy in prison, who is the boss and who is subordinate, and also to separate gangs, defining the entry or exit of the participant of a specific group, some are still done defining the personality of the prisoner and his degree of dangerousness and the crimes for which he is imprisoned.

Due to lack of resources, tattoos made in prison are improvised, using inappropriate materials such as paper clips, staples, nails, pen ink, ink, melted plastic and even cigarette ashes mixed with saliva, so the color is always monochromatic, he says. for the illegal entry of paint and professional machines into prisons which is becoming more common every day.

Some drawings and symbols have already been unveiled, but it is impossible to rely on this information, since the meaning of the tattoo can vary from place to place and from gang to gang. Below are some tattoos with their possible and most common meanings in the criminal world.

In addition to identifying the gang the criminal belongs to, tattoos on the face are also made to represent the personality.

Jesus Christ in the chest can mean robbery, in some places the design of a pistol in the leg is used.

Demons denote inmates who kill for pleasure, murderers normally considered psychopaths.

Sacirere, used by drug dealers.

Dove, identifies home burglars.

The caravel in the heart makes reference to freedom. Satan over the navel refers to highly dangerous prisoners.


Our Lady of Aparecida, tattooed on her hands, arms or thighs, identifies an element that commits homicide.

Dagger or knife, prisoner who has already committed murder using a bladed weapon, or a treacherous personality.

Spider web, made to pay homage to cronies who died.

Five points tattooed between thumb and forefinger shows that he was from an assault ring.

Three graves mean that the owner of this brand keeps secrets like a grave.

Tattoos, motorcycles, graffiti, music are some of my passions and my main topics on BlendUp.

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