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The Pink-Clad 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.
 

 

 

 

The Truth
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 Maricopa County website, he enjoys being known as "America's toughest sheriff."
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 jail. 

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."

 


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