Wondering Why?

Why do inmates wear orange?

Prisoners across different jails and facilities around the US and the rest of the world have been known to wear brightly colored uniforms.  In many countries, orange is the preferred choice when it comes to prisoner uniforms.  The basic reason for this is that orange and other bright colors are chosen to help easily distinguish the prisoners from security, law enforcement personnel, and civilians. This is especially applicable when prisoners try to escape and supposedly blend in with the people outside of prison.  Having an orange uniform makes them easy to identify among the common crowd.  In fact, the bright color of their orange uniforms makes the prisoners stand out from a group of people.  Experts in the government and in law enforcement agencies have specifically used orange as it literally draws attention to the prisoners that are wearing them.

The practice of getting prisoners to wear uniforms dates back to the time of the Nazis.  Back then, prisoners were made to wear similar outfits to help them be easily distinguishable.  Having uniforms back then also became symbolic of one’s status in the society.  Popular uniforms in the past included the black and white striped tops and bottoms. These kinds of uniforms were obviously picked for easy identification of prisoners.  Many prison facilities in the modern world also use this traditional black and white stripes uniform.  Others have resorted to bright colors though to make things more practical. The brighter the color, the easier it is for people to recognize prisoners.

In today’s pop culture, orange has somewhat become the most popular color for prison uniforms.  Many prisoners around the world use this color based on practicality and tradition.  Orange has even become synonymous with prisoner uniforms because many famous prison-related events in present times involved prisoners wearing this color.  Prisoners in Guantanamo Bay for example wear orange uniforms and this is also reflected in many movies wherein supposed convicts wear orange while inside prison grounds.



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