So I did it. I used a clichéd reference to a great John Hughes film. And it seems the film is a favorite low-cost, high humiliation tool of sheriffs who valued the color pink to pacify inmates.
Remember the infamous Davidson County Sheriff, Gerald Hege? The man proclaimed, “I love the smell of handcuffs in the morning” and prided himself on running the toughest jail in America. Well, he did repaint a jail pink with blue teddy bears floating on all sides.
In a Salon.com interview published March 2000, Hege took pride on the effect his “Pink Alcatraz” produced:
"The [inmates] say, 'Sheriff, look -- I'm sittin' here, 40 years old, I'm looking at a Pepto-Bismol pink wall with blue teddy bears for goodness sake, I don't have a dime in the bank, I don't have a car to drive, look at me.' The whole jail thing is designed for kind of a humiliation," Hege says proudly.
He even instituted a policy that inmates wear colored jumpsuits to identify their offense: blue for misdemeanors, green for sex offenders and orange for felons.
Hege may see more of those pink jails up close since a judge indicted him on fifteen charges ranging from embezzlement, to obtaining property by false pretenses, to obstruction of justice. He later accepted a plea agreement.