Can Forcing Inmates To Wear Pink Cut Recidivism?


Punishing prisoners for sexual misconduct by making them wear pink places them in peril, says a lawsuit filed by a South Carolina inmate and reported by USA Today. Prison and jail officials nationwide are trying to tap the power of pink to subdue criminals. S.C. prisoner Sherone Nealous argues that forcing inmates to wear pink is discriminatory and makes them more likely to be assaulted by other inmates. The state chose pink to denote jailhouse sex partly because other colors were taken – yellow for segregation units, dark green on death row – but also because prisoners don’t like wearing pink, which “contributes to its deterrent effect.”

Sheriff Clint Low of Mason County, Tx. put inmates in pink jumpsuits, pink shoes, pink underwear, and pink socks. He painted cell walls pink and used pink sheets and towels. It contributed to a 68 percent reduction in prisoners returning. “It’s not about trying to humiliate people. It’s simply that with them not liking it, they’re embarrassed by it and they don’t want to come back,” Low said. Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Phoenix started dying prisoners’ underwear pink because they were smuggling them out to sell on the black market for the jail logo. “I know they don’t like it. Why would I give them a color they like?” he said. “They’re in jail.”


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