‘Orange Is The New Black’ Is Forcing Jails To Change Their Uniforms


You know your TV show about fictional prison life is a hit when it’s causing problems for real-life prisons. The popular Netflix show, “Orange is the New Black” is so popular that it’s forcing some jails to ditch their orange jumpsuits in favor of the more traditional black and white stripes, because orange is in this season.

Michigan’s Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel, is taking away his inmates’ orange jumpsuits because he wants to counteract any public perception that orange jumpsuits are cool. You know, because that’s what the kids are into these days, dressing like convicts. Federspiel expressed his concern over the show’s negative impact to MLive.com:

“I see a lot of people wearing all orange, and they think it’s cool. And some people even put ‘Property of the Saginaw County Jail’ on the back of it, I’ve seen that. It’s like, ‘What are you doing? Really?'”


The sheriff doesn’t want the public to get the idea that being in prison is a cool and “edgy” thing to do, but his reason for the switch is also for the public’s safety. Federspiel noted that when the inmates are traveling outside the jail, it’s important that the public know that they are inmates and there be no confusion.

“It’s a concern because we do have our inmates out sometimes doing work in the public, and I don’t want anyone to confuse them or have them walk away. We decided that the black-and-white stripes would be the best way to go because it signifies ‘jail inmate,’ and I don’t see people out there wanting to wear black-and-white stripes,” said Federspiel

The inmates aren’t exactly excited for the jumpsuit switch either. The sheriff said they’ve been pretty verbal about the switch and prefer the old orange jumpsuits to the black and white stripes. That’s just one of the many downsides to being locked up though, you don’t get to pick your clothes. Sheriff Federspiel sees the negative reaction from the inmates as a telling sign that he’s probably made the right move.

“We’re not trying to embarrass or shame them. It tells me something, though, when the inmates think that it’s bad: It’s probably good. We don’t want them getting too comfortable, feeling like they’re productive members of society, when actually when they’re incarcerated, they’re not.”

They’ll just have to wait until they’re out of jail and can start wearing those trendy orange jumpsuits again.

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