Monday, April 14, 2008

On this day

in 1989, police in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, revealed that violent prisoners were being put into a bright pink cell which seemed to have a calming effect. The colour was named Baker-Miller Pink after the police chief and psychologist who thought up the idea.

Dr. Alexander Schauss, Ph.D., director of the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Tacoma Washington, was the first to report the suppression of angry, antagonistic, and anxiety ridden behavior among prisoners: "Even if a person tries to be angry or aggressive in the presence of pink, he can't. The heart muscles can’t race fast enough. It’s a tranquilizing color that saps your energy. Even the color-blind are tranquilized by pink rooms."

Ther must be something in this pink thing as I remember reading about a Texas Sherriff who makes inmates wear pink :
For some, it may be a sign that prison life has become too cushy. For others, it represents the ultimate humiliation as the final shred of dignity is stripped away.
At a county jail in Texas - maximum capacity four males and one female - inmates are dressed in pink jumpsuits. They sleep on pink sheets and wear pink slippers. Even the walls and the bars of the cells are painted pink.

"I wanted to stop reoffenders," the sheriff of Mason County, Clint Low, told the Associated Press. "They don't want to wear them. Working inmates get a choice to work outside or sit inside, and some choose to sit inside because they don't want people to see them. They would rather stay upstairs."

The tactic seems to be working, although it has had an adverse effect on the prison's policy of using inmates for community labour. "I'm not going outside in these things," said one inmate at the ageing jail. "It's a good deterrent because I don't want to wear them any more."

Maybe they should start painting some of the violent areas of our inner cities pink?

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