Georgia Jail Thinks Pink Is For Prisoners

Ben Hill County Jail in Georgia will be undergoing some pretty severe interior decoration soon. So, why do we care? The whole jail will be painted Pepto-Bismol pink on the inside and re-refurbished in the girly hue: pink walls, pink shower curtains, pink bed sheets, pink blankets, even pink handcuffs. I wonder how much that is costing taxpayers.

But why a loud Pepto-Bismol pink, of all colors? Are they trying to torture these prisoners? No, they’re trying to shame them. Because, you know, pink is a feminine color. There is no punishment worse than making a man be the slightest bit feminine, apparently.While inmates typically wear bright orange jumpsuits, Sheriff Bobby McLemore said it’ll supposedly be easier to spot escaped cons from the Ben Hill County jail if they’re dressed in bright pink. (Female prisoners are put in lime green jumpsuits instead.) He also said pink might have a “calming effect” on prisoners, but if that’s true, plenty of colors, like light yellow, could be considered “calming.” Anyway, garish bright Pepto-Bismol pink is not calming at all!

At least Sheriff McLemore doesn’t try to gloss over that the imposed femininity is supposed to be part of the punishment. “Our goal here is not to just have a calming effect on all of the inmates but to make them not want to come back to the Ben Hill County Jail,” he told news station Ben Hill County Jail isn’t the first jail to pink-ify its prisoners, either; AlterNet notes Mason Country Jail in Texas went pink on prisoners in 2006.

I understand Georgia is part of the South, where gender roles are pretty retro, but there are better ways to embarrass inmates than impugning their manhood. For example, what about making them walk around in jumpsuits with their crimes listed on the front? One hopes wearing something akin to the scarlet A, to denote “rapist” or “child molester,” for years on end would be a harsher punishment than dressing in the same color as Paris Hilton or Barbie. []