Orange may be the new black, but it's not the color for prisoners anymore in one jurisdiction. Saginaw County, Michigan Sheriff William Federspiel has decided to do away with the traditional orange prison jumpsuits in favor of the old-school black-and-white horizontal stripes look for his prisoners. Federspiel tells KTRH he made the change after noticing that all-orange attire has become more of a fashion statement with the popularity of shows like Orange Is The New Black. "We did not want there to be any confusion with the public as to whether or not someone wearing all orange was an inmate, or a person who decided they like the color orange, or people who want to emulate a prisoner," says Federspiel.
The new uniforms cost the same as the orange ones and last for three years, and Federspiel's jails have already begun the changeover. He's received positive feedback about the change from fellow law enforcement officers around the country, and even from as far away as London, England. "The only people that don't like it are my inmates," he says. "They say it makes them look like criminals--well quite frankly, if you've been convicted of a crime you are a criminal." Instead, he sees the prisoners' dislike of the black-and-white stripes as proof the change is a good one. "If you don't like the jumpsuits, I didn't invite you, don't come back," Federspiel tells inmates. "You have a choice, you don't have to wear the jumpsuit if you don't commit the crime."
So far, there's no word that the switch to black-and-white striped jail uniforms will spread to other jurisdictions across the country, or even here to Texas. But Federspiel would be pleased if his move started a national trend. "It's time to redefine what it means to be in jail," he tells KTRH. "It's not fun, it's not cool...and until black-and-white horizontal stripes become the new black, we're going to stay with those colors."