The aim of this study was to document the phenomenon of tattooing and piercing in prisons in Quebec and to identify factors underlying the intention of inmates to demand that equipment used in prison for piercing and tattooing be cleaned with bleach.
A total of 1,434 inmates recruited in seven prisons completed a questionnaire with the help of a community worker. The questionnaire was developed using an integrative model based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour.
One third of respondents had been tattooed in prison in the past and 2.6% had a piercing; 27.2% of the tattooing and 30.5% of the piercing were carried out using unsafe equipment. Three quarters of the respondents expressed a firm intention to demand that equipment used for tattooing or piercing be cleaned with bleach. Logistic regression analysis showed that personal normative beliefs (OR 5.09; 95% CI 3.54-7.32), perceived behavioural control (OR 3.55; 95% CI 2.48-5.08) and role beliefs (OR 3.23; 95% CI 1.72-6.06) were the significant determinants of intention.
Interventions aimed at encouraging safer tattooing and piercing activities in prison should focus on inmates' sense of responsibility, obstacles impeding adoption of this behaviour and promotion of this behaviour as an integral part of the culture in the prison environment.