Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Clean Prison Tattoos

August 13th, 2010 by

You know, there aren’t too many art forms out there can end up as a central point of an argument between jail chiefs and lawmakers.  At the same time, there aren’t too many art forms that are as delicate to perform as tattooing is.  I mean, if you paint someone’s portrait and accidentally paint their eyes the wrong colour, that’s too bad but not life threatening.  On the flip side, if someone is tattooed by an artist who doesn’t sterilize his equipment…Well, you get the idea.  Bad news.

So I guess that’s why it’s interesting to me to see a story in The Scottish Sun – a paper printed out of Glasgow, Scotland – about prisons in Scotland considering an act that would see tattoo studios opening full-time in prisons.  The reasoning behind this idea is pretty obvious: prisoners tattoo one another and they aren’t using the best equipment.  To say the least.  The risk of blood born illnesses being spread throughout the prisons through unsterilized “needles”, as well as the risk of infection are enough to consider placing clean and legitimate tattoo studios in prisons.

Attica!  Attica!  Atti…

Really?  Why not?  Yeah, okay, some people have a problem with the idea of their tax dollars going toward making sure that some prisoner gets a professional tattoo.  But hey, you know what?  There’s probably a lot of things that your tax dollars go toward that you may or may not support.  It’s just the way that it goes.  And if that’s the case, then why not have your tax dollars go to keeping your society – including the people in the prisons – healthy?

In case you hadn’t guessed it, I’m all for tattoo studios being opened in prisons.  Unsurprisingly enough, not everyone is a fan of tattoo studios being opened in prisons:

“But the move was slammed by Labour’s shadow justice secretary Richard Baker.

He said: “If prisoners are bored then this is a failure of the system that needs to give them more work to do.

“When money is tight the idea of spending taxpayers cash on a tattoo parlour for convicts is obscene.”

And TaxPayers’ Alliance spokesman Matthew Sinclair added: “Ordinary taxpayers don’t expect their money to be spent on prisoners to add to their tattoo collections. Prison authorities have to be very careful not to endlessly cave in on these issues.”

I can really see this entire thing being a contentious issue if ever it were to be adopted elsewhere.  Any tattoo artists out there volunteering for the job?  I’ll say one thing about it: you would hear some unbelievable stories… Anyway, I’m very interested to see what happens with this.

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