Tattoos: The meanings behind the most famous prison tattoos
In prison, certain tattoos can have a much more significant meaning than meets the eye – like years imprisoned, or the crimes they've committed.
An empty teardrop: this means the prisoner didn’t successfully murder someone. Once the deed is fully done, the person can fill in the tattoo.
A watch with no hands: this tattoo means the prisoner has received a life sentence, hence the time on the clock not mattering.
Five dots: this tattoo represents the prisoner confined within the walls of the prison. One dot surrounded by 4 outer dots.
3 leaf clover: while traditionally this symbol has Irish roots, the tattoo has been adopted by certain white supremacists to show their affiliation.
Spider web on the elbow: like the five dots, this tattoo is once again representative of time spent in prison. The further the web is extended, the longer the stay in prison.
A dagger that crosses through the neck: this tattoo is typically found in Russian gangs and is used to show the bearer is not afraid to take a life and is ready and able to do so for whoever needs – for a price of course.
Three dots by the eye: this tattoo means “mi vida loca” or “my crazy life”. The prisoner is most certainly affiliated with a gang.
A rose with thorns: this tattoo means the person was imprisoned at 18 years of age. It’s also common among Russian and Asian gangs.