Prison tattoos

Explore the fascinating world of prison tattoos, where art meets symbolism. Discover the stories behind these meaningful tattoos and the unique culture they represent.
A high-ranking, authoritative thief (left). In the early 1950s, it became customary for thieves to tattoo dots or small crosses on the knuckles, the number of dots indicating the number of terms. Prison is this thief's home, he is of the highest rank in the thieves' social hierarchy. His ring tattoos show that he was the only underage detainee in his circle of thieves, and that he is an 'anti-social': an inveterate transgressor of the prison regime, who completely refuses to work. Prison Tat, Mob Tattoo, Russian Prison Tattoos, Symbol Tattoos With Meaning, Wörter Tattoos, Gang Tattoos, Russian Tattoo, Kunst Tattoos, Prison Tattoos

These haunting images were taken in the early 1990s by photographer Sergei Vasiliev after he gained access to some of Russia's toughest prisons at the peak of the post-Soviet Union gangland power struggle.