By Juliet Ash
From nineteenth-century vast arrows and black and white stripes to 20 first-century orange jumpsuits, felony garments has either reflected and strengthened the facility of penal associations over prisoners’ lives. Vividly illustrated and according to unique learn, together with in the course of the voices of the incarcerated, this booklet is a pioneering background and research of criminal costume, which demystifies the event of what it truly is prefer to be an imprisoned legal. Juliet Ash takes the reader on a trip from the construction of criminal garments to the our bodies of its wearers. She uncovers a heritage characterised through waves of reform, sandwiched among regimes that use garments as punishment and discovers how inmates use their gown to surmount, subvert or live on those punishment cultures. She finds the hoods, the mask, and crimson boxer shorts, close to nakedness, even twenty first-century "civvies" to be no longer simply different forms of uniform yet political embodiments of the surveillance of lifestyle.
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Additional resources for Dress Behind Bars: Prison Clothing as Criminality
It is these issues, particularly in relation to the development of prison dress in England in the mid- to late nineteenth century, that will be examined in the next chapter. CHAPTER 2 uniforms: stripes, broad arrows and aprons, 1830s to 1900 Then, again, we manufacture about 10,000 yards of shirting for the prisoners . . Yes, sir, everything made for the convicts has a red stripe in it – sheets, stockings, towels, ﬂannels, and all. Their dress consisted of a loose, dark, claret-brown robe or gown, with a blue check apron and neckerchief, while the cap they wore was a small, close, white muslin one, made after the fashion of a French bonne’s.
The stripe both enabled prisoners ‘to be seen from a distance differentiated from the guards . . 31 Stripes on prison clothing continued in a number of forms throughout the nineteenth century in English and German prisons and ‘in many penal colonies in Austria, Siberia, and even the Ottoman Empire’. 32 In Auburn prison in America, striped woollen clothing for male convicts continued until the early twentieth century when it was abolished by the Mutual Welfare League. Despite the variations in the stripes on the ﬁrst prison uniforms in the West, the authorities’ intention in introducing these markings was similar from country to country.
Rather, it was convergent with ideological and penal prerequisites and historically speciﬁc. Reformers in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century America and England positioned themselves in favour of rehabilitative measures and the building up of prisoners’ self-respect through the improvement of everyday prison conditions. Among these was prison dress. Although prison uniforms were proposed as early as the 1770s, they were only introduced as a piecemeal measure in English prisons in the early nineteenth century.