Have you heard that wearing pink jumpsuits and living in pink cells is an effective deterrent for a lot of re-offending? In Mason County Jail, Texas, and many other prisons, they are being used as a punishment.
Lets ignore for now the gendered, cultural dialogue that goes along with colour that helps make this punishment effective. Lets focus on the fact that this deterrent isn’t violent, harsh or compounding more jail time on inmates. It is well known that violence begets violence. Threatening people who don’t have much to loose is like poking a bear, and it doesn’t help with the all important rehabilitation.
Idealy, wearing pink is a way of making behaving badly result in undesirable consequences, and is absurd enough for some people to laugh at themselves. Instead of getting a violent reputation, a criminal would get a reputation for making foolish decisions for their future.
Sherriff of the Jail Clint Low got the idea of pink jumpsuits from a sheriff in Arizona, Joe Arpaio, “estimated the re-offense rate in the county is down 70 percent since he switched to pink jumpsuits for the inmates. He also said there have been no fights between inmates in the jail since it was painted.”
It is a neat idea, and shows some out of the box thinking and an understanding of how peoplw work, in any situation. Once someone is convicted, they are still a person with self respect and self esteem.
What do you think? Better ways to treat inmates?
Fun Fact: The jail in the article holds 5, so isn’t exactly a large scale experiment. 70% decrease in reoffending sure is though.