I was walking around the track at yard this evening, having a conversation with a few of my acquaintances when a youngster I have not seen for some time approached us. He is a younger guy (early 20’s) and wanted to show off a newer tattoo he got at his last institution. This tattoo was expertly done but not of my taste. The bottom of the tattoo was a hypodermic needle while the plunger was the top of the Seattle Space Needle. Classy it was not. Before I could say anything, one of the guys I was talking to asked “what are you kid, some kind of junkie?” Joey (youngster with bad tattoo) replied with rightious indignation, “I’m not a junkie! I don’t shoot Heroin, I shoot Meth!”
Think about that for a second. This is the perfect illustration for flawed thinking. Here is a young man, scheduled to be released from prison within the next year who has branded his body with an extremely negative image. Good luck finding any type of good job with that Scarlet Letter blasted upon your body. I am not against tattoos. I have a lot of them. I had them before coming to prison and I will most likely get more of them when I get out. If tattoos are supposed to have meaning, or are an expression of oneself, some of the artwork prisoners have on their bodies should concern most of polite society.
Maybe this type of attitude/behavior is more prevalent in prison due to the higher concentration of people who have demonstrated poor decision making capabilities. However there is a certain arrogance masking some type of pain in many of these people. When you see a guy with the word “Hatred” stenciled across his forehead, or the numbers 666 permanently marked upon a neck most of society makes a snap judgement. In both of the above cases, the man with the Hatred tattoo is one of the kindest people I have ever met, and the guy with the 666 is not a Devil worshiper, it is the neighborhood where he is from. Until there is a tattoo removal program that can help correct these obvious errors in judgement, how can we expect these guys to heal on the inside when they haven’t healed on the outside? I suppose questions like these have been asked by smarter people than I, however no solution ever seems to present itself.
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