| Within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's expanding prison system tattoos are taken seriously by the inmates and their guards alike. Tattoos obtained while locked up in prison have special significance back on the streets. Texas convicts like other prisoners in the U.S. are racially divided but they share an affection for tattoos that identify home towns. Many of the gangs that are present in prisons across the nation have close regional geographic affiliations. A declaration of allegiance to one town or another can certainly provoke a gang fight and may cost an inmate his life.