Navy color-codes prisoner uniforms to prevent confusion in the brig

A sailor models the new pre-trial standardized prisoner uniform, which will be mandatory for all prisoners beginning Wednesday, May 1, 2019.


By CARLOS M. VAZQUEZ II | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 29, 2019

The Navy on Wednesday is adopting a distinct uniform for servicemembers confined in its correctional facilities in a move aimed at cutting costs and enhancing security, according to Navy Personnel Command, which oversees the service’s detention centers worldwide.

The new prisoner uniform — a blouse and trousers — comes in two colors: dark brown for prisoners awaiting trial and tan uniforms for post-trial prisoners.

Until now, Navy prisoners in detention ashore wore their utility uniforms, which created a potential for confusion.

“Having prisoners wear their service uniform creates security and public safety challenges, such as difficulty in distinguishing staff from prisoners,” Jonathan Godwin, senior corrections program specialist with the Corrections and Programs Office at Navy Personnel Command, said in the statement.

The new uniforms cost $45 each, compared to more than $150 for a service-specific military utility uniform, according to the Navy.

All detainees at Navy facilities will be issued the new uniforms, according to the statement. Prisoners will be responsible for the uniforms’ upkeep and must return the uniform upon their release.

The newly issued uniforms will be free of rank, ribbons and insignia, only displaying a white name tape on the right side of the chest.

Additional uniform items that will be included in the cost will be a belt, buckle and hats. Prisoners will continue wearing service-issued undergarments, socks and boots, according to the statement.

Those heading to the brig will no longer require four sets of utility uniforms and jackets as prescribed in a clothing and packing list; however, prisoners will still be required to wear their service dress uniform during court appearances.

The Navy has detention facilities around the world, including in Italy, Spain, Cuba, Japan and the United States.

Twitter: @StripesCarlos

A sailor models the Navy's new post-trial standardized prisoner uniform, which will be mandatory for all prisoners beginning Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

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