updated 12/16/2007 7:09:08 PM ET 2007-12-17T00:09:08

Jail administrator Dee Sandy thought the sheriff was joking when he mentioned painting cellblocks pink. He wasn't.

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Inmates at the Miami County Jail are putting color on the jail's once cream-colored walls after Sheriff Charles Cox entered the academic debate over the color pink's calming abilities.

After Sandy realized Cox was serious, she said she picked purple for the jail bars, which had been blue.

The jail, about 20 miles north of Dayton, houses up to 111 inmates, both men and women.

Researchers have documented the ability of certain colors to evoke emotional and physical responses, and many jails around the nation have been painted pink as a pacifying measure.

County jails in Arizona, Tennessee and Texas have had similar makeovers, but last year, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department abandoned pink for institutional gray. Jail officials there said the pink hue had no discernible effect on prisoners but annoyed the jail staff.

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