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Popularity of 'Orange is the New Black' prompts Michigan jail to new jumpsuits

Orange jumpsuits are becoming a thing of the past in Saginaw County, Mich.
Peter Dazeley for Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

At the Saginaw County Jail in Michigan, black and white is the new orange. Due to the popularity of the Netflix hit, “Orange is the New Black,” Sheriff William Federspiel is concerned that orange jumpsuits are becoming the “cool” new fashion trend in life outside his jail. This concerns Federspiel; he doesn’t want the average person keeping up with the latest trend to be confused with one of his inmates. Instead of looking “cool” like Federspiel is worried about, the inmates at Saginaw County Jail now look like the Hamburglar.

During the transition to black and white, some inmates in the correctional facility still wear the orange jumpsuit; this helps the guards know where the prisoners live inside the jail. Whether or not orange jumpsuits are cooler than the black-and-white have become obvious pretty quickly, as Sheriff Federspiel confirms that the inmates are grumbling about their new threads.

“They've been very verbal," he said on Monday. "A lot of them have said, 'We don't like wearing black-and-white stripes.' And my response is, 'Too bad. Don't come to jail.' If you come to dinner at my house and you don't like what I'm serving, don't come back. If you don't like the food, don't come back. If you don't like the clothes that I give you, don't come back. I didn't ask you to come wear this uniform."

People in the outside world who are taking part in this latest fashion trend are writing “Property of the Saginaw County Jail” on the back of their orange jumpsuits. Federspiel’s inmates are often put to work outside of the razor-wire fence in which they sleep. The change of attire is supposed to make them stand out and easily identifiable when they’re doing hard labor. Now that some of the prisoners look like Beetlejuice, they’ll stand out more than they would looking like Piper or Red; until of course Saginaw residents find black-and-white striped jumpsuits as fashionable as their orange ones.

In case another alteration of prisoner appearance is needed, the Saginaw County Sheriff could pull a trick out of Joe Arpaio’s hat and make the male inmates wear pink.

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