Wichita County inmates have a new look behind bars and the new look will create a safer environment for staff as well as the community. This week the sheriff's office changed the look and color of its inmates uniforms because the previous ones made it difficult to identify an inmate.
Newschannel 6 was able to go into the Wichita County Jail and see the new uniform. Its a black and white stripped jumpsuit with the words, Wichita County Inmate printed in large red letters across the front. Officials say the new uniforms will also help public safety.
This new uniform change has been in the works for about two years now. Ever since David Duke became Sheriff of Wichita County 90 percent of the men and woman in the Wichita County Jail are in the black and white jumpsuit's. And the new uniforms could have a big impact on public safety.
Officials say the problem with the old two piece uniforms was after washing them so many times, all the wear and tear made them look similar to medical scrubs. The black lettering across the front started to fade, letting inmates blend in behind bars and in the event of escape Sheriff David Duke says, "Black and white you cant miss that, you can pick it out of a field of greens pretty easy. As we found out through our escape from Annex Jail, the inmates had their green shirts and pants, and they're in a wooded area, just about gives them camouflage to hide themselves."
The new one piece jumpsuit's are heavy duty, and bright colored. The majority of inmates will have the black and white color jumpsuit's. But high risk inmates will wear red jumpsuit's, and trusties orange jumpsuit's. Sheriff David Duke says the cost for the new uniforms is covered by the inmate commissary fund, not tax dollars. When inmates leave the prison they will leave behind the new and improved jumpsuit.
Officials seem to be taking a liking to the new prison uniforms, everyone from the officers to staff from the Court House. Sheriff David Duke told me that black and white is the traditional prison suit and is what they need to be wearing. In a few weeks sheriff David duke expects all the inmates in the Wichita county jail to be wearing the new uniforms.