Prison tattoos as a reflection of the criminal lifestyle

Alicia T. Rozycki Lozano, Robert D. Morgan, Danielle D. Murray, Femina Varghese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between prison tattoos and the criminal lifestyle and recidivism. Participants consisted of 81 male inmates with prison tattoos (i.e., prison-themed or prison-made tattoos), 75 inmates with nonprison tattoos (e.g., animal tattoos, tattoos of ethnic origin), 52 male inmates with no tattoos, and 66 college students with tattoos. Results indicated that inmates with prison tattoos differed from inmates with nonprison tattoos, inmates without tattoos, and college students with tattoos with regard to criminal thinking styles, were at increased risk of recidivism, and presented more institutional behavioral problems, resulting in more disciplinary infractions. There were no significant differences between inmate groups with regard to number of convictions; however, additional group comparisons indicated that inmates with visible tattoos and antisocial-themed tattoos were at greater risk for recidivism and received more disciplinary infractions than inmates without visible or antisocial-themed tattoos. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-529
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Volume55
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011

Keywords

  • criminal lifestyle
  • inmate
  • prison
  • tattoos

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