Black is the new orange: Michigan jail junks its “cool” OITNB-style jumpsuits

In Saginaw County, inmates are to switch to black and white stripes to avoid looking like characters from the hit Netflix drama

How cool is Orange Is the New Black? Too cool for the sheriff of Saginaw County in Michigan, USA – so he’s changed the colour of the county jail inmates’ jumpsuits from orange to black and white.


“The name of the show, Orange is the New Black, is saying it’s cool to wear orange, and the show is enormously popular in Michigan,” Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel said, adding that OITNB “lends empathy to inmates”.

Federspiel also claimed that, with members of the public increasingly wearing orange in order to ape characters on the show, the real orange jumpsuits posed a security risk. “Some people think it’s cool to look like an inmate of the Saginaw County Jail with wearing all-orange jumpsuits out at the mall or in public,” he said. “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 haven’t had any escapes, and I don’t want any escapes.”

Federspiel added: “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.”


The Sheriff admitted that the move has not been popular with prisoners: “They think it makes them look like criminals.”