In at least five Kansas counties, prison uniforms have gone retro, regaining their iconic stripes, the Lawrence Journal-World says. Last winter, Johnson County was the latest to switch from the modern-standard orange jail uniforms, adopting the uniform of yesteryear, with 4-inch alternating stripes of white and blue.
The uniform change became necessary because of the growing popularity — primarily among teens –of orange shirts reminiscent of jail uniforms that can be purchased in some stores, said a detention official. “The public’s embrace of those orange shirts — some of which have ‘county jail’ on the backs — just kind or eroded our confidence in our ability to quickly identify an escaped inmate,” he said.
The cost of striped uniforms is usually a little more than $30, which is comparable to the orange uniforms. Two of the primary jail uniform makers are Robinson Textiles, in Gardena, Calif., and Bob Barker Inc., in Fuquay-Varina, N.C. Interest in striped uniforms began about 10 years ago when some Florida counties ordered green-and-white striped uniforms for prisoners put to work along highways, according to Sheila Hughes of Robinson Textiles.
There are no plans to switch to striped uniforms at the Douglas County Jail, Sheriff Rick Trapp said. Prisoners wear uniforms in one of five colors — red, orange, green, white or yellow. “They are color-coded,” Trapp said. “Each color has some significance as to the prisoner’s record and background.”