Stephen Dorrf is everyman Wade Porter, who defends his finance and son against a home intruder and winds up with a three year prison sentence when the defensive swing of a baseball bat goes terribly wrong. To make matters worse, Porter then witnesses a prison murder, putting him in between the rock of the other inmates and the hard place that is the cruel and evil prison officer.
Porter's cell mate is a "lifer," a man in for the rest of his life. John Smith is played by Val Kilmer, sporting a few dozen more pounds and a few dozen tattoos. These are very realistic, modern prison style, the exact type of body art you'd find in the California prison system. There are personal designs and mementos done in a primarily monochrome, fineline style as fitting with the predominant influences on skin art in the southern California prison system currently. In the featurette below, you can see Kilmer talking to Dorff about the meaning of some of his character's tattoos in the film.
This movie had a limited US release this past summer and then Felonwent straight to DVD.