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What inmates wear: A sampling of policies from jurisdictions across Canada

Last Updated May 1, 2016 at 12:40 pm EDT

Inmate Kevin Roberts is shown at Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's, N.L. on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Inmates at the penitentiary started wearing standard-issue jumpsuits, shorts, T-shirts, underwear and sneakers this year in place of their own clothing in part to curb contraband and related bullying. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

Newfoundland and Labrador has joined jurisdictions across Canada where prisoners are clothed by corrections. A sampling of some inmate clothing policies:


All inmates in provincial custody are required to wear clothing provided by the institution unless attending court. Issued items include shirt, pants, socks, underwear and sometimes coveralls. Colours for men are usually orange. Women wear purple or dark green.

British Columbia:

Male inmates wear red T-shirts, sweatshirts and pants which they sew as part of a tailoring work program to reduce costs and provide skills. Those on kitchen duty wear “kitchen whites.” Female inmates in medium and open custody wear grey sweatpants, T-shirts and sweatshirts. Women in secure custody wear green sweatpants, T-shirts and sweatshirts.

Nova Scotia:

The province has issued inmate clothing for more than 40 years. It used to provide green work shirts and pants but inmates now wear orange “scrubs” or orange sweatpants and long- or short-sleeved shirts. Female offenders wear similar items in navy blue. “Inmate clothing is warm, comfortable and easily fits most body types,” says an emailed statement.


Between 2008 and 2010, Saskatchewan began issuing grey T-shirts, sweatshirts and green pants, replacing personal clothing linked to contraband and intimidation problems.

Newfoundland and Labrador:

The province this year replaced personal clothing at its largest jail, Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s, with orange jumpsuits. Underwear, T-shirts, shorts and sneakers are also provided. It’s part of a pilot project that could expand to other correctional sites in the province.

Correctional Service Canada:

Male inmates get a standard set of clothes including jeans, light green T-shirts, golf shirts and underwear that they’re responsible for washing. Federal inmates make much of the clothing as part of prison employment programs. There is no standard clothing for female offenders. Dress codes in women’s prisons are set by local wardens.

— By Sue Bailey in St. John’s