Sad: Michigan prison trades orange jumpsuits for black and white stripes…because of Netflix

When a society glorifies what it used to abhor, it will fundamentally transform. But into what? That’s the question we need to be asking ourselves if this story ends up being a trend.

The traditional black and white stripes are making a comeback at a Michigan prison because the Netflix series ‘Orange Is The New Black’ has made orange jumpsuits too “cool”.

Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel said, “It’s because as you see shows on television, like ‘Orange Is The New Black,; 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.”

“We’re not trying to embarrass or shame them. It tells me something, though, when the inmates think that it’s bad: It’s probably good. We don’t want them getting too comfortable, feeling like they’re productive members of society, when actually when they’re incarcerated, they’re not,” he added.

H/T The Daily Caller

  • Keli Grantham Steadham

    Why shouldn’t they be embarrassed and ashamed? They’re in prison, for pity’s sake!

    • » gØrgØn «

      I think that is their point. Inmates think the black and white is bad, so it is probably good.

      • Keli Grantham Steadham

        I was referring to the comment in the article about not trying to embarrass or shame them. They need to be. And I agree….when my kids protest a punishment the hardest, that’s the one I give them.

  • GiGi

    Why should they even know of that series? Oh yeah, while our vets die waiting for medical/dental/psych appts….these idiots get cable/drugs/3squares a day….seems fair.

    • Keli Grantham Steadham

      Yep….the vets who fought FOR our country die and the criminals who fight AGAINST our country live it up. Probably better than a lot of us have it.

      • Anonymous

        i’m not subject to violence and rape on a regular basis.

        • Keli Grantham Steadham

          Ok…..I don’t understand what your point is.

          • Tyler # ?

            I don’t think he understood your point either.

            a) Bringing up military veterans when discussing prison inmates.

            b) classifying anyone punished by the criminal justice system as a person who is fighting against your country (what???).

            c) Your kinda classless if you believe prison inmates have it better than the local street corner bum. That bum’s not getting raped and beaten on the regular.

            Most 2+yr inmates face more dire situations then the bulk of our fine men and women who serve.

          • RichardandJan Bawol

            Obviously you’re never been to a real war Tyler if you think inmates face more dire situations than our fighting men and women!! Perhaps you ought to try it someday and see how much fun they have everyday! I did it for 18 months in Vietnam and we just had a ball watching our buddies get killed. Best vacation I ever took.

          • Tyler # ?

            I sure have not. I pray I never do. I hope less and less people moving forward ever will, even though war is both a truth and a reality in this world that cannot be ignored.

            While I commend your bravery (if you volunteered), it was nothing more than bravery. The Vietnamese people were no threat to the U.S. or to western democracy. They were a pawn in political games that backfired with the lost of troves of young Americans. Anyone who supports that war or glamorizes any form of American accomplishment in that war is an arrogant fool.

            I’m sorry for your loss. Loss hurts all the same.

            However, the men and women of today’s military do not face your Vietnam. Many of them will never see combat. The vast majority of those who do will return unscathed. The wounded will return to a country that does not do them justice or honor in the form of both physical and mental treatment.

            Many of these men and women did not join or leave the military under the guise of patriotism or defending ones country. They did it because they were not great students, wanted to make daddy proud had nothing better to do… yes… a small minority may have believed that fighting muslims on the other side of the planet contributed some form of … act of defense… but that’s a sham.

            The modern American soldier, if we’re speaking in generalized terms, is relatively comfortable other than from boredom.

            The U.S. inmate does not suffer this voluntary luxury. They were involuntary treated like a dog. They were caged, berated, beaten. They were even raped. This is not a tale from the minority. This is a common condition in the American prison system. And this does not apply only to pedophiles, murderers and rapists. This applies to anyone sentenced to time at a Prison (jails can be bad but not the same at all).

            No, your cousin who broke a car window to steal a cell phone, he’s getting beaten. The guards dont care.

            No, your father swerved over the line and blew a .09 in a county looking to make examples of people, he’s getting raped. The guards dont care.

            No, your sister agreed to split a federally large portion of marijuana with a group of friends to cheapen the cost per person, and she’s getting felt up and beaten. The guards are probably a part of it.

            The truth of the matter is today’s military is not that of Vietnam’s or WW2. It’s not the Civil War or the American War for Independence.

            You’ll have to excuse me if I reserve more sympathy for the forcefully abused of society. I’ve just got some of that thing called humanity is all.

          • Andrew Martin De Nicolas

            Tyler you’re wasting your breath. Too many zealots who won’t allow anything, no matter how well reasoned, to penetrate their perception bias.

            If it counts for anything, you made a very good case. Got plenty of friends who joined up for those very same reasons. Pity I’m the only one who actually will read it in it’s entirety.

          • Keli Grantham Steadham

            Yeah, I stopped reading it early on. Anyone who can compare someone in prison to someone in the military is a moron in my book. Those in the military volunteered? That’s the reasoning? Those in prison volunteered, too. They are in there because of a choice they made. They could have chosen to live a life of a law-abiding citizen, like the rest of us do. But they didn’t. They chose to steal from or rape or murder or beat up or whatever other law-abiding citizens and got caught. Yes, I’m sure there are those in prison who don’t belong there, but the VAST majority are there because they committed a crime. Those in the military joined because they want to protect your stupid right to your stupid opinion.

          • Anonymous

            Your ignorance is astounding . . . what exactly are you basing your information about prison on?

            Everyone knows someone who went to prison and lived to tell about it. If you didn’t learn enough to make you want to stay out of a place like that, then you are indeed a slow learner . . . and then whose fault is that???

            Comparing the honorable service of those in our military to criminals who broke the law is certainly a revealing fact about your own character. If you don’t know the difference, then perhaps we will read about you being sentenced one of these days and then we will be able to hear your firsthand account!

          • Anonymous

            As a US Marshal, I have been in most of the major prisons in the United States. Are there lots of fights in prisons? Well, some. Do guards routinely beat prisoners? Absolutely not! If you think rapes, beatings, murders are an everyday occurrence in most prisons, all I can say to you is that you’ve been watching too many movies. Most inmates can be in a prison for years and never be assaulted even once by a guard or another inmate. I was a uniformed police officer before becoming a Marshal, and I can tell you I would be more afraid of physical abuse from a police officer than a prison guard (partly because, in prison, you know what the rules are, and as long as you follow them and don’t try to prove what a tough guy you are, you will be left alone. In my handling of hundreds of prisoners I don’t believe I ever had a single one say they were assaulted by a prison guard or injured in a fight with another inmate.

          • James Ford

            If you do not want to got to prison, don’t break the law. That cousin shouldn’t have broken into the car, or the sis the pot. You break the law, you go to prison. Bad things happen in prison. Don’t be an idiot and do something to get put in prison and you won’t suffer. Not saying it is right to be abused in prison, but that is one of the consequences of illegal behavior.

          • Anonymous

            Screw it……Everyone will have a difference In what they think should happen to prisoners. Fact is most will get out. Then what?

          • Lyle Goodson

            I agree that a person should accept responsibility for their actions, but I am curious about the store sales you mentioned that pay for prison inmate services. What does the store sell, who do they sell it to, how much profit do they make and what percentage of inmate services does that cover?

          • Keli Grantham Steadham

            A mistake? Because you made a mistake? So, you think murdering an innocent person or beating an innocent person…..stealing from an innocent person…..any of that is a mistake? And I suppose you have an excuse for all of those who make that “mistake” over and over, right? wow.

          • Anonymous

            I am a former US Marshal, have handled many hundreds of prisoners, and have studied criminal justice and sociology at several major universities. One of the subjects that has been examined– closely– for many years is the rate of recidivism. On any given day, in any prison, about 74% of the inmate population has done time previously for crimes other than what they are in custody now. I have known a number of inmates who would commit crimes just to get back into jail: they liked the security of shelter, three meals a day, and medical care, as well as the relative order and regimentation.

            I am also a former Marine, a Viet Nam veteran, and I can assure you that being in prison, while very unpleasant, is a Sunday School picnic compared to combat.

          • Anonymous

            They don’t have it better than us in any way shape or form.
            You don’t seem to have much of an idea of how much of a disaster our prisons are

          • Keli Grantham Steadham

            Yeah, because 3 meals a day, or even 2, no rent, no utility bill, no bills of any kind, all the books they can read, cable tv, internet in some places, air conditioning, steak (I know this because a friend’s husband was in prison for a while and he got to eat steak many times), weights so they can become stronger and pick on more people when they get out….yeah, those are better than what I have……right….our prisons should be run like Sheriff Joe’s are in Arizona. No frills, no extras. Period.

          • Anonymous

            You been raped? or stabbed? or told to stab someone and if you don’t you’ll get stabbed left with a choice of either dying or having your sentence extended? How about maggots in food or aramark just failing to make a delivery so you might not have food? Healthcare in many prisons is substandard.

            There is room for disagreement on what the prisons should look like, but being in a prison with the general population isn’t a good thing and often ruins lives that already weren’t in a great place.

          • Rob Thompson

            Free schooling, no rent, free food; that is better than what we who have served ever got. Just because they made a mistake? No they broke the law, During war time as a serviceman/servicewoman you are guaranteed 1 hour of sleep and 1 meal a day its in the contract that you signed when you volunteered now when you volunteered to break the law you get 8 hours of sleep and 3 hot meals, the 1 meal a serviceman gets may or mat not be cooked MREs one step above eating out of a garbage can, but the prisoners have it worse. My cousin who has been doing time since he was in his teens now in his 50’s would argue that servicemen and servicewomen have it worse than he does. The stuff sold at the store is made by the inmates so they can get money on their books so they can buy stuff like candy bars cigarets which if you are in a Muslim country you cant even have. heres a break down of who pays for the care of an inmate 90% taxes and 10% from the prison store which is also taxpayers, even if inmates are buying the things in the store someone working is putting money on their books even if they are artistic and selling things in the store. Someone said that most of the people in the military are in because they weren’t smart enough to go an institute of higher learning, more like couldn’t afford it on their own and didn’t want to go to prison to get free college granted the percentage of prison population that take advantage is small its still free to them.

          • Anonymous

            I didn’t say prisoners have it worse than guys serving in a combat zone. I think I know what post you meant, but it wasn’t me.
            I only said that painting being in a prison as anything other than pretty crappy is stupid.

          • zemla

            Probably because they have an unusually high level of disasters inside all crammed up together. That isn’t going to be a picnic, as we all might consider obvious.

          • Anonymous

            yep, don’t know why she’s making it sound like a picnic

        • Anonymous

          AND??? Do you think that a person should live or die by the choices they make??

          Few who routinely break the law and end up serving time are completely ignorant of the conditions and the possibilities that come with being incarcerated. If they are really concerned about their future welfare, then they shouldn’t commit the crimes in the first place. Frankly, some are serving time for horrific crimes that they committed against innocent people . . . they cannot expect us to feel sorry for them because they made the wrong choice and now have placed themselves in a risky environment.

          “If you do the crime, you do the time,” which includes all the things that going to prison means. You cannot expect to commit crimes against society and then be sent to a daycare center until you decide to become a law-abiding part of society!

          • Anonymous

            Rape and violence aren’t considered as part of a sentence, otherwise that would be cruel and unusual punishment.
            50% of people in prison are in for nonviolent victimless crimes.

          • James Ford

            But they still broke the law…whether violent or not.

    • » gØrgØn «

      Because all inmates have been incarcerated since the inception of the series.

      • Keli Grantham Steadham


        • » gØrgØn «

          Sorry, I forgot my /sarcasm flag.

          • Keli Grantham Steadham

            Oh, ok…..I figured you were being sarcastic, but I couldn’t figure out about what….I just re read the op, though. Maybe it’s too late at night and my brain is tired.

            Most inmates shouldn’t know about the series, since it is relatively new, unless they get to watch HBO. Which they do. Which is not right. they are criminals. I don’t even get HBO, because I can’t afford it. I think that was the point of the op.

          • Boomhauser

            Keli you have no clue to how fast thugs go into jail and get out, do you? they serve almost no time then get kicked out on the street.

          • Keli Grantham Steadham

            Actually, being a law-abiding citizen, no I don’t. Either way, I think the point of the OP was to say they shouldn’t be allowed to have premium cable tv.

          • Keli Grantham Steadham

            This says it’s a prison, not a jail….

          • Keli Grantham Steadham

            And still don’t deserve to have Netflix or hbo or anything like it. Your point?

          • Nish

            It’s a jail, not a prison. In and out like a whorehouse.

          • Anonymous

            it’s on netflix, a bit cheaper and more widespread than hbo

          • Keli Grantham Steadham

            Yeah, I saw it on there yesterday…..but it’s still something that has to be paid for. Something that a lot of people don’t have the money to get. I agree with the Sheriff Joe way of doing things.

          • Lyle Goodson

            Keli, Thank you for being clear of mind and steady of purpose. Let’s keep supporting Sheriff Joe and maybe others will learn from his wisdom.

    • Bob Anderson

      I was thinking of some countries where a prisoner doesn’t get much to eat unless a family member brings it. Then I got to thinking that that is punishing the family as well. Or another thought, maybe the family will either stop or put pressure on that inmate to change their ways. Something to think about, but someone will cry.

    • BlueMN

      The only problem with this story’s theory is that OITNB takes place in a women’s prison and the women only wear orange during their first few days, the prisoners in the video are all males. Seems more likely the sheriff’s getting a kickback from the uniform company.

      Kudos to GBS’s crack news team for covering this important story.

      • Guardian

        It is both male and female in Saginaw.

  • Becky Stout

    That’s why I like Sheriff Joe in AZ………..let them wear pink.

  • Murry AZ

    Here in Arizona Sheriff Joe’s pink underwear got to be such a status symbol with Dirt bags He started charging for it, proceeds going to the Sheriffs Posse that ended the status symbol fast.

    • Keli Grantham Steadham

      I love Sheriff Joe. I think all prisons should be run that way.

  • Douglas Williams

    As long as it doesn’t cost a dime cause the wasted money should go to wounded vets cause if you’re watching that much TV. to influence your judgement then your thinking is impaired

  • Nish

    “Michigan Prisons” is a pretty broad statement especially when it says “Saginaw County JAIL”. Completely unrelated to the MDOC.

  • Tralfaz Watson

    Do they come in pin strips?

    • zemla

      Yes, and tailored cuffs too!

  • Dave Posh

    How about pink? Sheriff Joe has pink working for his guests. 😉

  • Sam

    make em wear PINK

  • Teslanedison

    wouldn’t dayglow colors that don’t go together do the job?

  • Anonymous

    Cover the uniforms with disrespectful depictions of gang symbols.

    All in magenta and cyan.

  • Nathan Douglas Graham


  • Remy Sheppard

    Whoops. Mr.Federspiel accidentally exposed what’s wrong with our prison system,

    “We don’t want them getting too comfortable, feeling like they’re productive members of society, when actually when they’re incarcerated, they’re not,”

    We don’t want them feeling like they’re productive members of society, he says. They aren’t, he says. Isn’t the actual purpose of prison to rehabilitate these people so they’re READY to BE productive when they get out?

    • Crassus

      The purpose of prisons is to punish people for their transgressions against society. Or at least that’s what it should be.

      • zemla

        Well, it’s actually both, though how the prison is run would seemingly decide which direction that scale is tipped in. Though, frankly, it doesn’t matter much. Some people are just flat out going to be bad, no punishment or rehab will change that, just like some people will never have a run in with the law.

    • Lyle Goodson

      I am curious to know how Netflix is rehabilitative and, if it is, why the government does not subsidize it for every household in America.

    • Kevin L Weikum

      Its quite obvious to anyone who knows anything about life and conditions in prisons, and many jails, that the overwhelming number of commentators in this stream don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s so easy to criticize when all you have is an opinion. Our prison system is broken in more ways than can be articulated here.If you have never been an employee or guest in one of our prisons, you should keep your comments, and your ignorance, to yourself because you sound like you’re speaking out of the wrong end of your anatomy. With over 300,000 jail-able / imprison-able offenses on the books, it is too easy these days to find yourself behind bars. Unless of course you know and can avoid them all. Please, come back and comment again after your Pius rear end has experienced an encounter with the system. Then perhaps your comments will have some merit among those who know about what they speak.

  • Anonymous

    A longer article on MLive dot com reported that orange jump suits are being seen in the malls and on the streets of the cities. Certain people in our society think it’s cool to wear jail-house-looking garb that has been made popular by the TV series.

    • Lyle Goodson

      When a person is seen wearing jail house garb in public I have no problem with the local constabulary tackling that person, cuffing them, relocating them to a house of detainment and THEN establishing their identity. Treat them like an escaped prisoner with stolen ID for 24 hours. See if they repeat.

  • mike malick

    Did you know that America has the most prisons and prisoners then any country in the world? Did you ever stop to ask yourself why?
    We are living in a total police state!!!
    They want US in these jails to make tax dollars off the middle class.
    The media and CIA have cheated the violence in this country through the TV and the drug war they created. Setting up the intercity leaders by posing as someone to help them make enough money to get out of there. But the whole time they are making them their slaves and spreading drugs through our whole country.
    Why would they do that? TO DUMB US DOWN!!!
    Has it worked on YOU?
    You are being PLAYED! Your ignorance will enslave you!
    Change your prospective and look at the big picture.
    Those in jail need your support and love to heal from the injustices that have been conspired against this Great Country.

    IN GOD we were established and in GOD we will overcome evil.

    • zemla

      You should work for the media (right,left, or otherwise) as you’re great at promoting a half truth and ignoring the rest of it just to make your point. But hey, some folks havnt learned yet that everyone is a little right and wrong, and that every angle is part of the total shape.

  • Mark Huber

    The US has more people incarcerated than any other country, and many are incarcerated wrongly, or for minor infractions, or just because corrupt cops, prosecutors and judges can. Many of us who are not there, have done wrong things that could have gotten us there, had we been caught. The prison industry is huge and powerful and is manipulating supposedly good and kind people’s thinking to vilify this entire population. Yes, the prisons are filled with bad people who deserve to be there, but most need to be helped so they can emerge as self supporting and upright people. Why did the Christian values of kindness, forgiveness and charity disappear?

  • Connor Kenway

    Well leave it to the so called cool to make prison the in thing.

  • Jason Lewis

    Why not pink like in Arizona?

  • Anonymous

    So I did a little research regarding the use of black & white striped prison uniforms and guess what I found in Wikipedia:

    “Striped prison uniforms commonly used in the 19th century were abolished in the United States early in the 20th century because their continued use as a badge of shame was considered undesirable.[7]

    Through most of the twentieth century attitudes were different towards philosophies of rehabilitation. Fair treatment of prisoners and a growing number of non-violent, working class offenders prompted such a change in attitudes, and clothing and conditions changed to serve the concept of rehabilitation rather than punishment. As a result, work clothes were introduced, perhaps because of the concept of honest labor helping to turn an inmate into an honest citizen. Blue jeans and light blue denim or chambray work shirts became the norm, a tradition still followed in some state prison systems today. In federal prisons, this concept was introduced in the form of khaki pants and shirts, still in use.”

    Apparently Michigan has decided that the return to the old black & white stripes is not such a bad thing after all. Perhaps they have also discovered that there is no such thing as “rehabilitation;” that it is only a concept contrived by the penal system that made the general public feel better about incarcerating those who refuse to be law-abiding citizens. There was a time when there was such brutality in prisons that once someone got out, they were scared into living a different lifestyle. But as a result of protection of the rights of those who are wards of the State or Federal gov’t, for the most part, the brutality perpetrated by guards on inmates is gone, and prison isn’t such a bad place to be after all. Where else can you go to get a safe night’s sleep, three squares a day, receive the best medical care available, have a sex change and medications provided on the backs of the taxpayers, and do nothing but lounge around all day or lift weights? So just maybe prison isn’t so bad when you consider that the guards are there to protect their jobs by protecting the inmates!

    And all this hope and change resulting in wardrobe change for inmates was brought about by the progressives who wanted to treat inmates like they are regular human beings who just made a little mistake and didn’t deserve to be incarcerated in the first place. So they got rid of the black and white stripes and replaced them with scrubs or street clothes. The inmates didn’t feel like they were prisoners and they certainly didn’t look like prisoners.

    And as a side effect of changing the look of prison uniforms, if someone escaped they didn’t stand out so they didn’t have to rob someone else of their clothes. No sir, today if there is an escape in Michigan, there will be little doubt who is the escapee when seeing the black & white stripes! I guess you could say that history is repeating itself!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Our county has adopted Bubble Gum Pink jumpsuits for the inmates. Certainly less likely to be glorified in a shocking pink suit!

  • independent thinker

    Instead of changing back to the black and white uniforms they should change to hot pink uniforms.

  • Benjamin Dover

    Those things which become available to most of us only become so because they were first the luxury of a few who could afford to try them.

  • Lee Peterson

    I remember when jail was a punishment, not a status symbol…

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