Orange is the New Black is making orange jumpsuits "cool" at one Michigan jail, and the sheriff is putting a stop to it.
Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel is switching his inmates to jumpsuits with black-and-white horizontal stripes to address "cultural issues."
The Netflix series is an example of life imitating art, he said.
"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," Federspiel said. He said the show also "lends empathy to inmates."
Even before the series began, Federspiel said he noticed more members of the public wearing orange, including nurses wearing orange scrubs. He didn't want the possibility for confusion among the public, especially when inmates were transported to a hospital or worked community service, he said.
"We haven't had any escapes, and I don't want any escapes," Federspiel said.
Federspiel said the decision to make the switch was a "no-brainer." The jail was due for new jumpsuits, and buying the same color jumpsuits, costing $11.73 each, for both male and female inmates would save $800. Previously, female inmates wore burgundy jumpsuits, he said.
The response to the new black-and-white look has been positive from everyone — except the inmates.
"They think it makes them look like criminals," Federspiel said.