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Sheriff Joe Arpaio..Hero Or Rogue Cop?

posted 1/10/2010 9:16:49 AM |
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Sheriff Joe Is At it Again
August 30, 2009 12:00 AM EDT

You all remember Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, who painted the jail cells pink and made the inmates wear pink prison garb. Well . . .

Maricopa County was spending approximately $18 million a year on stray animals, like cats and dogs. Sheriff Joe offered to take the department over, and the County Supervisors approved.

The animal shelters are now all staffed and operated by prisoners. They feed and care for the strays. Every animal in his care is taken out and walked twice daily. He now has prisoners who are experts in animal nutrition and behavior. They give great classes for anyone who would like to adopt an animal. He has literally taken stray dogs off the street, given them to the care of prisoners, and had them place in dog shows.

The prisoners get the benefit of about $0.28 an hour for working, but most would work for free, just to be out of their cells for the day. Most of his budget is for utilities, building maintenance, etc. He pays the prisoners out of the fees collected for adopted animals.

It is a wondered when the rest of the country would take a look at the way he runs his jail system, and copy some of his ideas. He has a huge farm, donated to the county years ago, where inmates can work, and they grow most of their own fresh vegetables and food, doing all the work and harvesting by hand.

He has a pretty good-sized hog farm, which provides meat, and fertilizer. It fertilizes the Christmas tree nursery, where prisoners work, and you can buy a living Christmas tree for $6-$8 for the Holidays, and plant it later.

He was re-elected last time with 83% of the vote. Now he's in trouble with the ACLU again. He painted all his buses and vehicles with a mural that has a special hotline phone number painted on it, where you can call and report suspected illegal aliens. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement wasn't doing enough in his eyes, so he had 40 deputies trained specifically for enforcing immigration laws, started up his hotline, and bought four new buses just for hauling folks back to the border. He's kind of a 'Git-R Dun' kind of Sheriff.

To those of you not familiar with Joe Arpaio: he is the Sheriff of Maricopa County , Arizona he keeps getting elected over and over. This is one of the reasons why.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio who created the 'Tent City Jail,' has done the following

Has jail meals down to 40 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them.

He stopped smoking and porno magazines in the jails, took away their weights, and cut off all but 'G' movies.

He started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects.

Then He Started Chain Gangs For Women So He Wouldn't Get Sued For Discrimination.

He took away cable TV until he found out there was A Federal Court Order that Required Cable TV for Jails. so he hooked up the cable TV again only let in The Disney Channel And The Weather Channel. When asked why The Weather Channel, He Replied 'so they will know how hot it's gonna be while they are working

He cut off coffee since it has zero nutritional value. When the inmates complained, he told them, “This isn't The Ritz-Carlton…If you don't like it, don't come back.”

With temperatures being even hotter than usual in Phoenix, the Associated Press reported about 2,000 inmates living in a barbed-wire-surrounded tent encampment at the Maricopa County Jail have been given permission to strip down to their government-issued pink boxer shorts. One day, hundreds of men wearing boxers were either curled up on their bunk beds or chatted in the tents, which reached 138 degrees inside the week before. Many were also swathed in wet, pink towels as sweat collected on their chests and dripped down to their pink socks. “It feels like we are in a furnace,' said James Zanzot, an inmate who has lived in the tents for 1 year. 'It's inhumane.' Joe Arpaio, the tough-guy sheriff who created the tent city and long ago started making his prisoners wear pink, and eat bologna sandwiches, is not one bit sympathetic. He said Wednesday that he told all of the inmates, “it’s 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have to wear full battle gear, but they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your mouths!'

Maybe if all prisons were like this one there would be a lot less crime and/or repeat offenders. Criminals should be punished for their crimes--not live in luxury until it's time for their parole, only to go out and commit another crime so they can get back in to live on taxpayers money and enjoy things some citizens cannot afford to have for themselves.

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Jan 10 @ 9:34AM  
A-freaking-men!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for posting this Doc!!! People want to feel sorry for the inmates in Maricopa county?? Like he said, look at the troops in Iraq suffering thru the heat and sand storms even... bet they'd be happier to be in Joe's jail wearing pink undies than to be where they are now!!! So yeah... they need to shut the fuck up!!!!!!!! If they don't want to be there, they shouldn't do the crimes... I have NO pity for them whatsoever!!!!!!!!!
And yeah... let them get out and pick up the trash on the side of the road.. I do like what he's doing with the animal shelter... why should these prisoners sit around all day and do NOTHING?? Let them give back to the community that they have been offending! They deserve nothing more!

Maybe THAT man needs to run for President!!! JMO!

Jan 10 @ 9:34AM  
oh yeah.... KUDO for you on this one!

Jan 10 @ 9:42AM  
Couldn't agree more!!

Jan 10 @ 9:52AM  
Not sure what goes on in Arizona. It is not uncommon for people in power to be very effective and fall prey to their ego. It can lead to an attitude of "if you're not for me, you're against me." leading to impropriety or worse. Der Fuhrer and Nixon come to mind along with many others.

As for Joe, I don't live in Arizona so I am content to let the people of Arizona and the courts sort it out. If he has done nothing wrong, he has nothing to worry about.

Jan 10 @ 10:01AM  
I personally love this guy!

Jan 10 @ 10:15AM  
For anyone interested in this subject, here is a January 8 article from the newspeper, Arizona Republic, that goes into the allegations and court proceedings. It also has links to related articles.

Jan 10 @ 10:24AM  
Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents too

My son has been in Iraq 4 times and they lived in trailers with a/c

That being said, go for it if it is not making people have heat stroke. We had work farms here in NC since the 1700s but they closed them down years ago because of some bad apples among the prison guards. (Not sure if they ever opened them again) They strapped a man down who had a seizure and beat him for not working. (The man died) His family got a lawyer and all hell broke loose in the justice system. They found that some of the prisoners went for several days at a time without being fed, were working out in the fields without enough water and the guards were selling the produce and pocketing the money. (Among other things) I think prisoners should be punished, but there are guidelines that are supposed to be followed. Those are there for a reason. I don't think they need all kinds of frills but l wonder how much of this guys tatics are just grandstanding to make a name for himself.
Now if they really want to piss off the male prisoners give them the cable tv but put on WE, HGTV, and Lifetime Movie Network or run tapes of wedding shows all day long.
If the sheriff is not violating any laws himself and is following guidelines set forth by the federal government for treatment of prisoners fine, but if he is stepping over that line and breaking federal law for the treatment of prisoners then doesn't that kind of put him in the same boat as them? The law is the law no matter who you think you are.
As for the inmates working out and some of the other things. Leave them there but make them earn them by good behavior, taking some kind of class, doing some kind of public service, I think they should be a reward for those trying to do better, not for the general population. I had someone A warden) tell me one time that bad treatment of prisoners does not always make them better people, it just make them pissed off at the world and one day these guys are going to be back on the streets. That is all we need, someone angry with the world set loose among the general world population. I think some of the first timers, should not be put in with those in for life but should be put in a situation where they can get help getting their life together so maybe there will be one less criminal on the street when they are finally let out.

As for transporting people back to the border, does he have the legal authority to do that? If not, isn't he kind of breaking the law himself?

Jan 10 @ 10:38AM  
Isnt that why theyre called "illegal aliens"? and thumbs up to WOW for his comment...

Jan 10 @ 10:59AM  
Ok this is a county Sheriff, correct? For me it would depend upon the severity of the crime 'committed' by the perp as to what the punishment should be. Seriously.

I'm all for the work crew idea. It cuts down on violence among the population as well because they are too tired to fight. His work with dogs has proven to be nothing short of beneficial to both the dogs and the inmates.

However, the tent city in the heat.. that is inhumane. I am aware that the soldiers in Iraq are living in some of those conditions, but they did make that conscious choice to join the military. I know, that's an unpopular point of view.. but it's mine.

Jan 10 @ 11:57AM  
We were told that we are now federal witnesses, and we will be protected," Wilson said.

Federal witnesses safe???
I believe that should have been posted as a joke

Jan 10 @ 7:36PM  
However, the tent city in the heat.. that is inhumane. I am aware that the soldiers in Iraq are living in some of those conditions, but they did make that conscious choice to join the military. I know, that's an unpopular point of view.. but it's mine.

Are you suggesting the criminals were forced to commit crimes? As a former deputy sheriff I can tell you criminals rarely change theirs ways by sitting in a jail cell watching cable TV all day (yes, most jails do let them do just that). It plain does not work. They get out, and they are right back in again. Ask them why they do it and they give the same shrug and say "who fucking cares?" If they had respect for themselves and for others, they most likely wouldn't be there now would they.

The Mississippi State Penetintary in Parchman Mississippi sits in the middle of miles of farm land. Mississippi being on the gulf coast is extremely humid unlike Arizona, and the already hot tempratures are made worse by this. People have been known to die in the summers there from heat exaustion. The inmates complained some years ago that the prison needed air conditioning. The commissioners decided they would install air conditioning when every house in sunflower county had air conditioning, and until then, it would not be fair to those suffering in their own home if they knew inmates at the prison where nice and cozy. As far as I know, due to sunflower being a very poor county, the prison is still without air conditioning. At least the tents can catch a breeze, and unlike Mississippi that can remain in the upper 90's through the night, Arizona is known to cool off at night.

I'd say if people were dying off, it might would be worth looking into. Seeing the only people complaining are the inmates so far, I'd say the program is working.

If we responded to inmates every complaint, what would be the point of putting them in jail in the first place?

To many bleeding hearts in this world. Life isn't fair, but you do have some degree of control over how unfair you make it on yourself. Just my opinion.

Jan 10 @ 9:11PM  
I wish Joe was in the White House instead of the man currently elected. Hey let's watch the Health Care Debate on C Span.

Jan 10 @ 9:28PM  
I made my views known on Sunshines blog from last week....and that's all I'm gonna say!

Jan 11 @ 3:54AM  
i often remember getting in trouble as a kid and being threatened by my mother with; just wait til your father gets ....out.

Jan 11 @ 9:08AM  
I'll never understand the whole panty waisted idea that punishment is inhumane. The entire point of prison is to punish people for breaking the law. Not to provide them with luxury until they change their ways.

As for the idea that the tent city is inhumane. Just how many of those poor despotic criminals have died as a result of their living conditions? Big fat zero. Its uncomfortable not inhumane.

People who commit negative acts only understand negative reinforcement. Being all positive with cookies and milk does not cure anyone of their criminal mind.


Jan 11 @ 12:01PM  
A BIG FAT ZERO?! Wrong! Prisoners HAVE DIED from heat stroke. FACT.& not every prisoner is a hardcore criminal.Howd you like to go to jail 4 a traffic violation & be served shiny green hotdogs for dinner? There is a HUGE difference between luxury & basic human right.

Jan 11 @ 12:09PM  
Wow,My apologies for the double post.Glitch in the

Jan 11 @ 12:57PM  
I have been in jails (years ago) that did not have properly working heat or AC either one. I wished I had a tent with at least some moving air.And I slept on the floor, not a bed or cot. I will never complain about it either, it was no less than I deserved, I did the crime. And this jail was so old and outdated that at one time, they had held Jesse James in it for a time. ( The Outlaw, not the bike builder).

Joe is a COUNTY sheriff. Which usually means he gets the inmates AFTER they have been through due process of courts and sentenced. And usually that also means that he only gets the harder offense types. I know JS was just throwing out an example, but most people do not go to jail overlong for minor traffic offenses, instead more severe ones such as DUI. Also included are rapists, drug addicts, attempted murderers and the like. Not any jaywalkers, I am sure.

I am finding it difficult to locate any verifiable numbers to show the success results to show the number of return offenders, but I am sure it is low. The media and activist groups have it so muddled now, it's very hard.

And yes, since Joe does not practice PC methods and goes FAR against the grain in the nowadays "Soft" approach towards illegal aliens, he is an easy target for lawsuits etc. by any group that I am sure part of that is just another way for them to get their own media splash as well. Easy enough bandwagon to jump on.

The Troops endure that kind of living and more overseas. They chose to. The criminals chose to do the crime. And if not a comparison in that way, then consider the bottom line fact. Those conditions can be done and they are done by people in full gear and packs every day 24/7 I would consider that harsher than what is being done here. Anything that can be and is being done elsewhere WILLINGLY by others, I do not consider inhumane on anyone.

And one last thought. With ALL of his total practices, not just the ones being media splashed, he has been in office a great many years. And is still being elected by over 80% of the people in his district. The local people, the ones who see, talk about and are "there" are speaking their piece about it.He has been re-elected to FIVE four year terms. And it should be noted that this sheriffs department is the third largest in the country.

Another thing to note: His tent city has been in effect since 1993. Yes it's been around that long. And I believe if it was THAT dangerous or inhumane, it would have been shut down by the half dozen or more committees that have investigated him over the years. Personally looks to me as if it is just another "media hot air balloon" that they keep inflating and keeping aloft.
Joe's resume direct from his website

Just my nickel.

Jan 11 @ 1:10PM  
Idk,when I was arrested for driving on a suspended license I went to tent city directly after my 11 hour booking.It seemed to be a pretty mixed group *Shrugs* who knows,in jail everybody is innocent.

Jan 11 @ 1:18PM  
You went to Joes tent city yourself? Awesome if so. Not that you WENT, but that you could actually offer input about the inside.

Don't think I am attacking you personally. And I can actually relate, I also went to jail for a suspended license. 2 weeks in County. And I have no idea what it is now, but back then, yes it was an automatic sentence.

So, do tell us, if you don't mind, about it if you have been inside there.

Jan 11 @ 1:43PM  
The only reference I can find about anyone dieing in jail
had nothing to do with hear stroke in the tents, where, by the way, most Maricopa Co. inmates would rather be than inside the main jail..

Tent cities for inmates have been around for longer than Joe's..
I remember one in Florence, Az max prison when the inmates rioted and burned their mattresses and several buildings..They were just fuckin' stupid..Poor babies had to sleep on the ground after burning their bedding

Pretty much, the bottom line is, if you don't want to go to jail,
don't break the law Pretty much a no brainer to me..

BTW..I was a Maricopa Co. Detective almost 50 years ago when I was attending ASU in Tempe...Criminology Major..

Jan 11 @ 2:32PM  
I guess that, due to my current circumstances..which I will not divulge to the general populace, I have a slightly different take on what is right and wrong with the prison system.

Jan 11 @ 2:46PM  
And let me just say from the standpoint of being RL friends with tha Skwirl, she has DAMN good reason to be bitter over the system.

*Huggz and Lubbinz for the bushy one*

Jan 11 @ 2:57PM  
My time there was short,DKW,& my opinion is tainted w/the personal hardships I was dealing with @ the time.I had no clue where my child was,had no family to call,etc,etc. I only left my bunk to play cards, which I HAD to do to win the Koolaid that I would trade for the Ketchup packet sized Peanut Butter I lived on.ANYTHING to avoid the shimmery green meat.

Jan 11 @ 3:17PM  
It was incredibly cold @ night,idk the exact temp but I recall that my shivering interfered w/my sleep.That & they kept trying to get me to take a TB test, they were assholes about it when I refused & tried to push me into it on a daily basis.

Jan 11 @ 3:26PM  
I spent alot of time mentally casting spells, surrounding my child in blue & keeping up mirrors against all the negative energy & troubled souls there. A DETECTIVE,Rev? How cool...

Jan 11 @ 4:58PM  
On the upside,I acquired a new skill.Yep,I MASTERED the fine art of fashioning a bra out of disposable mesh granny panties... Valuable,huh?

Jan 11 @ 10:10PM  
No offense, but most people that have been to jail tend to be biased against the jail system. That is human nature. But let me ask this; did going to tent city make you want to go back... or make you want to stay out?

And that is the bottom line. Just my opinion.

Jan 11 @ 10:53PM  
I cant imagine "Wanting" to return to jail.& the idea of prisons having cable & serving 3* meals is completely ridiculous to me.Prison should feel like prison. However,many of the tactics used by Joe Camel seem to cross the line between punishment & psychological warfare. What is the purpose in playing endless loops of Barney songs 24/7? Really.

Jan 11 @ 11:30PM  
Barney songs 24/7

Well I see your point on that one... lol.

Jan 11 @ 11:31PM  
That's nothing...when they stormed Waco, they played "Achy Breaky Heart" on repeat 24/7.

Now that's torture.

Jan 11 @ 11:36PM  
Hell DKW, that's beyond torture, even Suddam Hussien wasn't that damn mean.

Jan 12 @ 12:05AM  
Yes,it is torture,thats why its done.It eats away @ ones freedom of thought.....Its one hell of an ego booster for Joe though.I wonder what it does for his poorly hidden sadistic streak?

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio..Hero Or Rogue Cop?