The Meaning of the Prison Teardrop Tattoo

Prison teardrop tattoos are famous among inmates. This design is not just beautiful but also meaningful. The detailed meanings of this tattoo contribute to its ongoing popularity.

tattoos with prison teardrop designs are often associated with the prison system or criminals. However, they all share specific defining characteristics.


A teardrop tattoo on the right eye could signify various things, including murder. The number of teardrops might represent the number of people killed. Perhaps it means the murder of someone in your group, triggering a desire for revenge. Or, it could symbolize attempted murder.

The teardrop tattoo could also serve as a reminder of time spent in jail, like after a murder conviction that led to a long sentence.

Prison tattoos can serve as a form of self-protection, helping inmates blend in with the criminal subculture. The tattoo’s meaning can change depending on the prison it’s found in.


tattoos could symbolize retribution for murders. They might also indicate that someone is trying to fit in with the criminal underworld by displaying gang symbols.

The teardrop is a renowned symbol of gang culture. Many gang members sport it on their arms or fingers.

Some prisoners get this tattoo to show they have completed their prison term and have not made plans to repeat past mistakes. Others use it as a statement to prevent making the same errors and avoid future jail time.

People with this tattoo might seek revenge against those who killed a friend or associate during incarceration. The teardrop outline might signify their intention to commit murder.


Teardrop tattoos hold significant importance for prison inmates. Yet, many outsiders need to be made aware of this tradition. It’s common to see an inked vertical line across an inmate’s upper back, but more elaborate designs are also seen there.

However, the focus of this tattoo isn’t just on size and color. It exhibits the small-scale acrobatics of America’s most infamous institutions. Inmates might show off this small wonder by flinging their arms around their heads. Consulting a tattoo artist for advice before getting inked permanently is recommended.


A teardrop tattoo is a famous prison tattoo that can signify various things depending on the wearer. For example, it could symbolize long jail sentences, murder convictions, or mourning for lost loved ones.

Many people get teardrop tattoos to show solidarity with an incarcerated person. Amy Winehouse did this after her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, was imprisoned for perverting justice.

Showing solidarity can be a powerful way to support someone in prison or who received a harsher sentence than deserved. It also serves as a reminder of past mistakes and symbolizes sorrow for one’s crimes.


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