No, I'm NOT proud...

Phoenix Travel Blog

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Life in tent city

 

I debated whether or not to include this... but if we are discussing how bizarre life can be in Phoenix, I don't see how I can leave it out.  It's time to discuss our very special version of the criminal justice system.

We have a very well known (infamous, if you will) Sherriff in Phoenix; Sherriff Joe Arpaio.  He is in charge of the jail system here, amongst other things.

Sheriff Arpaio, years ago, decided we were (as a city) spending too much money on the prison system; and thus came up with new ways he felt would both deter crime and cut costs.

And so was born "Tent City".

Tent City

Tent City is part of the prison system here.  It's in the desert, and temperatures get up over 100 degrees F, over 39 degrees C, easily.  It's made up of well... tents.  This is where the prisoners live and sleep.  It looks much like a military base, but for low grade criminals.

Step number one was to take away things that are normally found in jails - such as coffee.  Apparently denying them coffee saves us, the taxpayers, $150,000 a year.  Other prohibited items include cigarettes, adult magazines, hot lunches and TV; with the exception to this being the Sheriff's own bedtime story reading, a self-styled literacy program broadcast nightly to the inmates.

What the inmates DO get to eat, is a lot of bologna sandwiches - but not just any bologna, really, really bad bologna (like any is very good) this is so bad, it is in fact, GREEN.  Green bologna.   That is what they are given to eat.  The sheriff is very proud of the fact that the guard dog's meals cost more each day, at $1.10 worth of food, than the inmates meals, at a grand total of 90 cents worth of food - total, per day.

Inmates are required to wear black and white striped outfits - like you used to see in old movies.  Underneath these silly costumes?  Pink underwear. 

"Sheriff Joe", as he is well known, has also brought back the classic "chain gain"; these inmates do a great many hours of work along the freeways every day, in their black and white outfits.  Should you come to Phoenix, you very well may see them.

landshark3 says:
I disagree with some of Joe's ideas but this one i always thought was right. It's not a country club or gym. They are there because they broke the law. If our solders can go fight for our country and live in tents in the dessert. I don't see what is so bad about making these guys do it. Maybe when they do get out, they will think twice before breaking the law again.
Posted on: May 31, 2007
WaltJake says:
I'm sure they (the prisoners) violated some human rights to get there! The best way to avoid eating green bologna in 100 degree heat? Very simple! Don't commit crime in Phoenix!
Posted on: May 27, 2007
annouska_213 says:
Oh my!!This is violation of human rights or what??They do have the right to eat at least better than a dog!!Feed the bologna to your sheriff!Does anyone protest?I'm not sure I know how a sheriff is elected,can't u just "fire" him?
Posted on: May 27, 2007
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Life in tent city
Life in tent city
Tent City
Tent City
Chain Gang going to work
Chain Gang going to work
Phoenix
photo by: ahtibat17