Prisoners Of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona-Truth!
Summary of the eRumor
The email describes prison
conditions in Arizona's Maricopa tent jail and quotes the sheriff as
telling complaining inmates that the soldiers in Iraq are facing
similar conditions, living in tents in hot weather, and that they
didn't commit any crimes.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a colorful and
controversial character who has instituted severe policies at
Phonex's Maricopa County Jail since taking office in 1993.
According to his bio on the
County website, he enjoys being known as "America's
He got nationwide attention when he established the Maricopa County
tent city for inmates.
More than 2,000 prisoners live without smoking, coffee, pornographic
magazines, movies and unrestricted television in all jails.
The eRumor says the meals cost less than 40 cents but the cost
figure is actually less than 20 cents.
Arpaio has also instituted what he calls "Hard Knocks
High", the only accredited high school in an American
That, along with an anti-drug program, says Arpaio, has resulted in
a high percentage of his inmates leaving jail without their
addictions and few of them returning.
This particular eRumor borrows from an Associated Press article from
July, 2003 that focused on the prisoner's experiences during a heat
wave and adds other details that have become well-known about
Sheriff Arpaio and the jail.
Last updated 7/24/04
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
Sheriff Joe Arpaio (in Arizona) is doing it RIGHT!! He 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. 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 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 cut off coffee since it has zero nutritional value. When the inmates
complained, he told them.....this is a good one......"This isn't
the Ritz/Carlton. If you don't like it, don't come back."
He bought Newt Gingrich's lecture series on videotape that he pipes into
the jails. When asked by a reporter if he had any lecture series by a
Democrat, he replied that a democratic lecture series might explain why
a lot of the inmates were in his jails in the first place. You have to
love this guy!!
More on the AZ Sheriff:
With temperatures being even hotter than usual in Phoenix (116 degrees
just set a new record), the Associated Press reports:
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. On Wednesday, 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 1/2 years. "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 damned mouths."