Is this any way to run a jail?

Paul RichardsonPaul Richardson

Remember Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, who made news recently when he painted the jail cells pink and made the inmates wear pink prison garb?

Well, Sheriff Joe is in the news again.

The county was spending $18 million a year on stray animals, catching, housing, feeding, and medical care. Sheriff Joe offered to take over the department and county commissioners eagerly agreed.

The animal shelters are now all staffed and operated by prisoners. The best part? His annual budget for the entire department is now under $3 million, with most of his budget going for utilities, building maintenance, etc. He pays the prisoners out of the fees collected for adopted animals, .28 cents an hour, but most would work for free, just to be out of their cells for the day.

Sheriff Joe has a huge farm where inmates can work, and they grow most of their own fresh vegetables and food, doing all the work and harvesting by hand.

They also raise hogs, which provides meat for the jail and fertilizer for the Christmas tree nursery, where prisoners work, and the public can purchase a living Christmas tree for $6 – $8 for the holidays and plant it later.

He created a Tent City Jail where trustees are housed.

He has the cost of jail meals down to 40 cents per serving, which includes a lot of bologna sandwiches.

He banned all tobacco use and porno material on county property. Nothing but “G” rated movies are allowed.

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…..BUT 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 on my chain gangs.”

He shut down the gym and took away all weight lifting equipment.

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. Prisoners wear pink jump suits, pink boxer shorts, pink socks, pink flip-flops and use, pink towels.

Last election, Sheriff Joe won 83% of the vote and never campaigned one day. So why is there an uproar?

It reaches over 100 degrees in his tent city and inmates constantly complain. Some call it “inhumane.”

“It feels like we are in a furnace,” said one inmate who has lived in the tents for a year.

But tough-guy Sheriff Joe Arpaio is not one bit sympathetic.

He told the inmates, “It’s 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have to wear full battle gear while risking their lives every day, but they didn’t commit any crimes, so shut your mouths!”

He believes if all prison systems were like his, there would be far less crime and repeat offenders.

“Criminals should be punished for their crimes,” he stated, “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 taxpayers can’t afford to have for themselves.”

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