• Efrat ShohamEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Criminology book series (BRIEFSCRIMINOL)


This book argues that there is constant interaction between prisons and outside society. There is constant interaction, in the form of relationships and discourse, between the Israeli correctional system and its facilities, and general society in Israel . It seems that changes in prison social structure are tightly correlated with social processes that happen in outside society. The composition of IPS prisons and the determination of priorities change simultaneously and in accordance with events happening outside prison. The connection between immigration and crime is well established and known. Immigration brings an intercultural transition which elicits processes of increasing an immigrant’s self and cultural awareness. The immigrants from the former Soviet Union did not just preserve their original Russian identity in Israel , but also empowered it and developed a widespread Russian community network, including Russian stores, Russian journalism, Russian recreational activity, etc. The Russian prisoner community in Israel also imported its members’ unique habits and traits from their country of origin. One such trait is tattoos , which are very common among Russian prisoners and which are considered a social-cultural phenomenon. Against the background of the Russian community’s trend toward seclusion, and the Russian prisoner community’s traits as a unique group with antisocial and anti-institutional behavior patterns and customs, it was found that Russian prisoners jealously guard the tattoo phenomenon as well as their knowledge and lore associated with it. The material and information for this book were obtained from sources external to the investigated population. Although the tattoos originated in the prison camps and prisons in the former Soviet Union , they continue to flourish and exist in Israeli prisons; the hierarchy of classes within the Russian criminal world, as constructed and consolidated in Russian labor camps, is applied in Israeli prisons and continues to preserve, relentlessly, the highest and lowest classes of the Russian prisoner community. Body tattoos symbolize a prisoner’s loyalty and commitment to the role inked on his flesh by the collective society. His status is preserved and defined, and the wearer of the tattoo is compelled to comply with the social requirements demanded from him. It is clear that the phenomenon of criminal tattoos is not about to go away; it is very much alive in Israel , and the tattoos are an inseparable part of the Russian community’s power in Israel. However, some researchers argue that at least in the low to medium security level correction facilities where there are the improved conditions, there will be a reduction in the need for criminal tattoos, which represent and preserve that subculture ’s set of values .


Correction Facility Collective Society Inseparable Part Criminal Underworld Criminal World 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CriminologyAshkelon Academic CollegeAshkelonIsrael

Personalised recommendations