Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Tattoo Prisoners

February 14th, 2010 by

A recent news report out of Copenhagen, Denmark tells of a new ban on tattoos in the work place for guards working for the Danish Prison and Probation Service.  The ban, effective as of now specifies that Danish prison guards are not permitted to have visible “biker gang type” tattoos.  What exactly “biker gang type” tattoos are is not clarified by the Danish Prison and Probation Service, leading to the deduction that “biker gang type” tattoos is just an archaic way of saying no tattoos allowed.

The new uniform regulations issued by the DPPS state that ‘the existence of visible tattoos could be found to damage the reputation that prison guards should have both outwardly and inwardly’.

The guidelines continue by stating that the ‘existence of large, visible “biker gang type” tattoos on the hands, arms, neck and head are in this way not desirable’

This is all very disappointing of course and not just because this new ban wallows in outdated stereotypes, either.  I’ve always thought of the majority of Europe as a continent that is constantly pushing the envelope in terms of sociological advancements and tolerance.  To be honest, Denmark was the last place that I expected to see this kind of old-school attitude toward tattoos surface.  Still, people like Kim Østerbye, who is the chairman of the prison worker’s union, is speaking up about and questioning the ridiculousness of this new ban:

‘What is a biker gang tattoo? What is an immigrant gang tattoo?’ he said. ‘Tattoos in Denmark are completely normal. Maybe 10-15 years ago, they would have been more about signalling your membership of the gang environment, but that’s absolutely not the case today.’

How true, how true.

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