An Australian prison uniform is not just a uniform that guards wear when they’re on duty, it’s also an outfit that all prisoners wear.
The prison uniform has come under fire from many quarters, from the public and the politicians who say it’s too soft, and from the prisoners themselves.
What are prison uniforms and why do they matter?
When I was in prison I was always very proud of my prison uniform.
The black blazer, the white pants and the black shoes.
I think those were the things that made me stand out from the crowd, even if I was a very average looking boy.
The blazer and the pants were very important to me.
They were my symbol of being accepted by the guards.
The pants were my pride and joy.
I wanted to wear them, even though they weren’t really my thing.
But I was told it wasn’t necessary.
I was never given an opportunity to wear something different.
I’d have to walk in and out of the prison and have to make up for what I didn’t wear.
At one point I was even allowed to wear a white T-shirt that said, “I’m not your prisoner.”
It was a little awkward.
But at the end of the day, I’m a normal guy and I like to wear what I like.
Why are they important?
Prisoners have no choice.
I’m here because I’m an Australian citizen and I’m serving a sentence of life.
I’ve got my own life to live, and I want to go back to a place where I can have a normal life.
But my life is now being changed by this uniform, and so are I. The Prisoners Union says it has had the uniform change process “from the ground up”.
The union is calling on the government to reverse the decision to discontinue wearing the blazer or trousers.
The uniform change would also make it mandatory for inmates to wear collars.
“Prisoners will be unable to freely walk around with the blazers, and if they’re not wearing collars, they’ll be asked to remove them and they won’t be allowed to use them, particularly during times of unrest or when they don’t feel comfortable,” the union said.
The uniforms were introduced in 2012.
The policy change was initially criticised by prisoners, who argued that the bluster, trousers and collars had become too soft.
The issue came to the fore again when the state of New South Wales announced the end to the use of the uniforms.
“The blazer is now mandatory in prisons, it is no longer optional, and is no long the only way prisoners can look their best,” the Department of Corrections said in a statement.
“New South Wales is committed to maintaining an appropriate level of uniformity in all aspects of the correctional environment.”
What does the uniform say?
The uniform has become a symbol of how a prisoner feels about the Australian justice system.
Prisoners who have worn the uniform for years have said it has changed their perception of how prison should work.
“I was one of the lucky ones,” inmate Michael Banda said.
“They were actually wearing prison uniforms back in the day and I was one lucky one.
They actually made me wear prison uniforms.”
What are prisoners allowed to do in the prison uniform?
Prison guards are allowed to remove collars and make up new ones during times when inmates feel uncomfortable.
But if they do, prisoners are required to wear the blazed collars to do so.
What about prisoners who are not in the uniform?
If a prisoner is not in a prison uniform at all, they’re also allowed to walk around in the normal prison clothes.
“There’s no penalty for wearing prison clothes,” Mr Banda says.
“It’s not like you’re being asked to do something you’re not good at.”
The prison dress code is one of many policies prisoners have to follow.
“When you’re a prisoner, there are many things you can’t do,” inmate Anthony Taylor said.
Prisoner Andrew Parnell has spent the last three years in a New South and Western Sydney prison.
He’s been in and around prison since the age of 12, and said he had a tough time adjusting to the uniform.
“To wear prison uniform in my everyday life, I was very much unsure of myself and the expectations of my peers,” Mr Parnells said.
But the uniform was not a deterrent.
“That uniform made me feel comfortable and confident.
It made me look good,” Mr Penell said.
He has since been able to wear prison clothes in the past year, and he says he is now happier in the uniforms than he has been in the years he has spent in custody.
Why is it important to the prison system?
The Australian Government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the last five years to upgrade the state’s prison facilities and create more social and recreational facilities for prisoners.
These improvements have created an environment where prisoners feel