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A single ankle shackle with a short length of chain attached to a heavy ball is known as a ball and chain . It limited prisoner movement and impeded escape.

Two ankle shackles attached to each other by a short length of chain are known as a hobble or as leg irons . These could be chained to a much longer chain with several other prisoners, creating a work crew known as a chain gang . The walk required to avoid tripping while in leg irons is known as the convict shuffle.

A group of prisoners working outside prison walls under close supervision, but without chains, is a work gang . Their distinctive attire (stripe wear or orange vests or jumpsuits ) and shaven heads served the purpose of displaying their punishment to the public, as well as making them identifiable if they attempt to escape. However, the public was often brutal, swearing at convicts and even throwing things at them. [6]