Striped uniforms are making a comeback at the Bingham County Jail.
The uniforms, reminiscent of those used by prisoners in the 1930s, are being designed and sewn by inmates. The program not only saves the county money but increases security and develops job skills and self-esteem.
Inmates started wearing the new uniforms Monday. The black and white horizontal striped shirts, trousers and hats replaced solid light blue uniforms.
“I think they’re really hip,” inmate Kristi Agler said. “They have a busy look and are really different. It’s a fashion statement.”
Bingham County Chief Jailer Jesse Montague said the new uniforms distinguish staffers from inmates, which is better for security. Montague has been implementing changes to make the jail more secure since he took the job last year.
“We have black-and-white video cameras and sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between the officer and the inmates,” Montague said.
He estimates having inmates make the uniforms cuts the cost in half. He plans to market extra uniforms to other counties.