There was a time in the history of tattoo art, when tattoos were considered a symbol of being members of criminal clan and were viewed as a taboo by common people. In fact, gang tattoos were used to mark people as a member of a particular gang of the underworld and were viewed in a negative light. Gradually, as tattoos became a more acceptable and fashionable art form, people no longer connects it with gangs and criminals. But this does not imply that the use of tattoos by gang members has come to an end altogether because there are still some gangs who use them to distinguish their members.
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Prison Tattoos and Their Meanings | TatRing
A few generations ago, most tattoos were viewed as potential gang tattoos — whether or not they were actually gang related. In other words, though most people didn't have the skill to identify symbols , it was more or less taken for granted that tattoos were connected to a criminal underworld. Luckily today, tattoos are very common and have lost that kind of association. This doesn't mean that gang tattoos have disappeared altogether.
Prison Tattoos and Their Meanings
They were founded in the early s as part of efforts of protection   for Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees from the more numerous American gangs in their localities. In the early s, the Asian Boyz gang was formed by a group of schoolmates, including Filipino brothers named Marvin Mercado and Pierre Mercado in Southern California , as part of an effort to protect themselves from the more numerous pre-existing gangs situated in their respective neighborhoods. Their identity also attracts notable controversy, being that the Cambodian sets are notoriously influential and decorated as their own faction of Crips that is, among other things, racially or ethnically distinct. Although the Asian Boyz gang comprise their own identity as an organization, the identity itself is largely interpreted as an umbrella of individual Crip gangs or "sets"; hence their alternative monikers "Asian Crips" and "Asian Boyz Crip".
Cargill, B. Prison tattooing is the practice of "getting inked" while behind bars. Many prisoners do so in order to affirm and convey gang membership, indicate their rank in that gang, or to display their ability to endure pain, while others choose designs that symbolize their time inside or use the tattoo as a sign or code to display their crimes on their skin for all to see. Because tattooing is not legal in US prisons, inmates don't have access to the proper equipment or supplies, and this is why they invent other methods and devices from the materials at hand, things like paper clips, staples, mechanical pencils, ballpoint pens, and other random spare parts.