The Importance of Prison Uniform Color Code

By  | 

Prisoners tend to wear brightly-colored orange jumpsuits and scrub sets that make escaping more difficult, as their bright hues make them easily identifiable.

Each prisoner has an assigned color that represents their security risk, making them instantly recognizable among fellow prisoners and helping to prevent risks through concealed objects or any attempts of escape.


Prisoners wear uniforms to distinguish them from the general population and make identification easier for prison staff if any escapees manage to get away, while at the same time serving to prevent weapons and drugs being concealed within civilian clothing. Prison uniforms also serve to deter prisoners from hiding weapons and drugs within them.

Jail uniforms vary globally, though there are some universal colors. Prisoner jumpsuits typically consist of short-sleeved and solid jumpsuits with no stripes; although some prisons use striped ones. Suppliers such as Flying Cross by Fechheimer offer a range of colors and styles including uniforms that resemble hospital scrubs; they even come in muted hues such as blue, khaki, or olive hues for your convict uniform needs.

Early 20th-century prison uniforms associated with chain gangs were phased out during the late 1950s in favor of an innovative system to differentiate prisoners based on custody levels: gray uniforms were reserved for high-security, brown for medium security and green for low security prisoners – however color systems vary per prison but generally prisoners receive their initial uniform assignment upon intake and remain wearing that particular garment until reaching another security level.

Prison uniforms were once both humiliating and uncomfortable for prisoners, often consisting of tattered and smelly pieces with stripes that were difficult to conceal, creating an environment of punishment and degradation in prisons. Today however, prisons have transitioned away from this punishment-oriented model towards rehabilitation, reflecting that shift with changes to prisoner clothing that ranges from utilitarian workwear to more comfortable garments that serve both as identification as well as showing one’s status.

At present, most prisoners wear a standard uniform consisting of a blue T-shirt, grey jumper, and grey soft trousers or jogging bottoms. All male prisoners can use this basic outfit; those earning higher rewards for good behavior can upgrade it – for instance the orange jumpsuit worn by prisoners in “Orange is the New Black” shows an excellent example.


Prison uniforms serve two functions. First, they help identify prisoners from civilians more readily and make them easier to identify; secondly they prevent escape attempts through concealed objects or accidents by making it easier for guards to see when an inmate attempts to run or hide from them. Prisoners typically wear orange colored uniforms so that their movements may be monitored more easily by guards.

uniforms were intended to distinguish prisoners from civilians; however, they have the power of stigmatizing and humiliating prisoners, particularly women prisoners who feel that wearing such a standout uniform robs them of autonomy and dignity. Prison officials have recently attempted to address these concerns by switching up uniform colors – for instance allowing a woman in Utah the choice between wearing an orange jumpsuit or opting for more subtle and less stigmatizing ones such as burgundy uniform.

Prison uniforms come in different colors and styles; Cleveland County prisoners’ white jumpsuits evoke traditional jail stripes while Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department uses orange scrub-style uniforms that resemble scrubs more closely. Furthermore, some prisons allow prisoners to choose their own shirt while others mandate that certain shirts or hoodies must accompany each uniform.

Color of prisoner uniforms plays an integral part in their meaning and symbolism. Pink uniforms tend to be used to humiliate prisoners in male prisons. Pink-hued uniforms may serve as a disciplinary measure or punishment against prisoners who violate certain rules; green or blue-hued ones tend to be reserved for lower risk inmates such as those working on kitchens, laundry services or nonviolent tasks like mail delivery.

Prison uniforms may seem like punishment to many, but they actually serve an essential function. Prisoners don’t typically wear much clothing so wearing something comfortable makes them feel cared for and humanized. Plus, their uniforms often allow them to earn additional income by sewing, knitting or doing other jobs inside prison walls – potentially providing extra money-making opportunities!


Historically, criminals in jails were required to wear uniforms consisting of smelly, dirty, tattered and uncomfortable fabric; further humiliating them in front of other inmates. Since the days of corporal punishment have ended, prisons have evolved into adopting more rehabilitation-oriented philosophies of justice; now prisoner inmates in the US often select their own clothing choices, even choosing their uniform colors themselves!

Prisoners at Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Walpole have begun wearing canary yellow garments whenever they leave their housing areas for any purpose, such as visiting hours and court appearances, in order to make themselves easily identifiable by staff and fellow inmates, thus decreasing incidences of violence. This initiative hopes to reduce incidents of aggression among prisoners.

Yellow prison uniforms typically signify low risk inmates or those working on details involving outside offenders such as cooking, cleaning, laundry or mail delivery services. They may also be worn by those serving protective custody – these uniforms resemble male standard issue uniforms with baby blue T-shirt and grey soft trousers (jogging bottoms/pants). Prisoners receiving yellow uniforms will not be permitted to purchase their own clothes but may exchange it on the wing for another color as needed.

Prisons often screen print uniforms with different colors to identify classes of prisoners and locations more precisely, such as orange for remand convicted inmates and maroon for sentenced inmates. Some facilities allow individual prisoners to select their colors based on which gang they belong to while some facilities mandate that certain colored uniforms must be worn when leaving housing areas or traveling between units in order to prevent conflict among inmates.

Corrections officers can specialize in several roles, such as riot control and emergency response. Individuals performing these roles wear special equipment – helmets with pepper spray canisters – when responding to incidents; uniforms for these officers tend to include shirt, coat and hat combinations.


Prison systems in the past were notorious for subjecting prisoners to rigorous physical discipline and corporal punishment; but today’s prison systems are taking an approach focused on rehabilitation of inmates who will later return into society after release.

Prison uniforms are an integral component of this effort and serve a variety of functions. First and foremost, they help guards quickly identify inmates as threats from gang members or any who attempt to escape, while they also serve as visual deterrence measures that discourage prisoners from concealing weapons or items under clothing.

Different prisons may have differing regulations when it comes to prisoner uniforms, but most generally share some basic characteristics. Prisoners usually wear a uniform that includes a shirt and pair of pants or jumpsuits; additionally, some prisons provide access to additional clothing like jackets or long-sleeve sweaters for different weather conditions.

Prisoner colors are typically coded according to their custody level and penitentiary, so guards can quickly recognize them. For instance, wearing green might signal someone transferred from maximum-security facilities into minimum security settings while orange could mean temporary custody due to medical conditions.

prisoner clothing goes beyond color to help identify individuals. Cadet uniforms typically sport their academy or state correctional agency’s name on them; similarly, inmates may have their names embroidered onto garments so as to better keep track of who belongs in which jail.

Prison uniforms serve many functions; however, they may also serve as an oppressive tool. For example, some prisoners in prison may be assigned specific colors in order to deter fights among inmates and help break down barriers among inmates by seeing other inmates wearing similar-colored uniforms. This can help build community ties as each prisoner feels that they belong with others wearing identical garments.