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Texas Prison Tattoos.
By  Andrew Lichtenstein.
Page 3.

 Convicts of all races frequently have teardrops tattooed directly below their eyes, giving them the appearance of permanently crying. These tattoos take on different meanings depending on the place and time they were acquired. Originally each tear drop represented a murder committed. More recently they have begun to represent each of the family or gang members who have died while a prisoner is locked up. Because of the location of the tear on the face, these tattoos are about commitment, an unabashed declaration of the inmate experience. Prison has literally scarred the convict, a sad fact fittingly expressed with a teardrop.

In a world where not caring about consequences is respected, tattoos declare themselves fearless. For that reason inside the confines of the prison most hardened gang members, rather than hide their markings, display them fearlessly.

Members of the Texas Syndicate (above), one of the oldest prison gangs in the state, conspicuously wear a giant TS on their forearm.

Photographs and story © Andrew Lichtenstein.