101061: Gangs and Their Tattoos

Identifying Gangbangers on the Street and in Prison

About the Course:

Of all the identifiers used to verify gang membership, tattoos are perhaps the most pervasive and reliable. Not only are they relatively permanent, but they convey a wealth of information about the wearer. Used extensively by gangbangers to announce gang affiliation, tattoos can also denote an individual’s rank in a particular gang, his criminal experience, and in some cases, specifics such as the number of hits he’s performed in service to the gang. In his book, author Bill Valentine shares the latest intelligence on the predominant street and prison gangs and other disruptive groups, with particular emphasis on their identifying tattoos. Supplementing the text are scores of detailed illustrations by Correctional Officer Robert Schober that replicate some of the most common tattoos worn by members of each of the groups discussed. The culmination of countless hours Valentine spent attending gang seminars and working face to face with prison inmates throughout his 20-year career as a correctional officer for the Nevada Department of Prisons, this groundbreaking work makes a substantial amount of previously classified information available to the general public for the first time. In addition to presenting the latest intel on white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and prison gangs. Valentine also includes new information on hate groups, and organized crime.

Publication Date:



Bill Valentine

About the Author:

Sgt. Bill Valentine was a line officer for the Nevada Department of Prisons for 20 years, retiring at eh end of 1997. For many of those years, one of his primary responsibilities was the identification and tracking of all suspected gang members at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City.

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially addiction counselors, attorneys, school teachers, mental health workers, hospital personnel, psychologists, counselors, and social workers, who seek knowledge about gangs and their tattoos. It is appropriate for all levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Identify the role of drugs in the gang and prison system.

  2. List the different type of gangs and their identifying tattoos.

  3. Explain the rivalry between the different kinds of gangs.

Exam Questions

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