Prison and Jail Tattoos

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I got two pictures sent to me recently that looked like they were straight from 850 Bryant (SF's County Jail) processing area but the person who sent them to me had no idea on any of the history. I couldn't decided where on the tattoo forum I was going to put them as the "Photography of People with Tattoos" was good but didn't seem right. Then the next closes thread was the "Russian Criminal Tattoos" thread but that wasn't a fit as they were clearly American and one was for sure Bay Area specific. I was thinking how cool it would be to see a tattoo picture book of American Prison and County Tattoos. So I've done a l little research and believe I located where they came from, Robert Gumpert, though could be wrong as the two I got weren't on his site but match his style. So while in the process I gathered some more prisoner tattoo pictures and thought it would be cool to have a thread of tattoo pictures of American prisoners in county and/or jail. It would great to get ahold of all the pictures they take of people and their tattoos when processing new inmates to the county/state bed and breakfast.

Here's is an article I found on Juxtapoz about one of Robert Gumbert's recent projects:

American Prison Tattoos by Robert Gumpert

Monday December 27, 2010

This post is two-fold. One, we receive many letters from prisoners who are avid readers of Juxtapoz. And two, we like to showcase someone who documents prison art in a classic portrayal like Robert Gumpert has in this series, American Prison Tattoos. Gumpert explores the meanings behind prisoners’ tattoos in Californian penitentiaries with clean black and white photography.

As Gumpert explains, "Tattoos may be becoming the norm but before their surge in popularity, tattoos were the province of society’s outcasts: sailors, artists, carnies and outlaws – acting as road maps of their lives: who they were, what they had done, their loves, desires, their sorrows and pains.”

Thank you to KoiKoiKoi for the images. More images at their site.


Please share your photos and also if you know of any books. Here is a book I found that looks good:

Prison Tattoos

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The second photo in the first post isn't an American prison photo. It's Jay Read from Birmingham, UK. jayread.co.uk

He's certainly a tough motherfucker, but not American and not in prison in SF.

Awesome, thanks for informing me. His blog has some cool shit around it from tattoos to travel to fashion to his story to......

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yeah definetly some cool stuff till i see a dead baby. Maybe I am overreacting but if I posted that I would be worried that that childs blood would hunt me down and cut off my eyelids and feed me sleeping pills and then torture me.

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