By most accounts, Clint Low makes for a pretty good sheriff — and a pretty bad decorator, CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports in this week's Assignment America.
"They're in my jail, so basically I'm going to choose the color of the walls they sleep in — and the color of the sheets they sleep under — and the color of the jumpsuits they wear," says Low, the sheriff of Mason County in Texas. The color he chose is pink.
He started with the shoes and those jumpsuits. He washed them with the sheets and towels, and the color has been spreading every since.
"I think it's just a matter of time before the bars turn pink," Tino Aguilar says. "I don't want to wear pink!"
Tino says temper is his biggest problem. He is at the jail this week on a parole violation, one of four unfortunately dressed inmates now living in the Mason County Jail.
The idea isn't entirely new. Other sheriffs in other places have used pink in the past to try and calm the inmates — with mixed results. But this appears to be the first time anyone has used the color pink to try and keep prisoners from coming back.
"Most Texas males have an aversion to wearing pink, so obviously already they don't want to come back," he says, adding that he knows "for a fact it's helping."
Low says that in 2004, before his jail went pink, about a third of all arrests were repeat offenders. But the next year, almost nobody was coming back. Same thing so far this year.
And Low says that's good — because his jail is well over 100 years old and about as tiny as they come. He doesn't have the room or the money to keep incarcerating the same people over and over.
Aguilar says that's fine by him. After a lifetime clashing with the law, he swears, this is it. "I'm done, I'm done, and I can honestly say this played a big part of it," he says.
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