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'Tough Guy' Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Netlore Archive: Forwarded email recounts the controversial accomplishments of 'tough-guy' Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona

Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: June 2004
Status: Mostly true (see details below)


Example #1:
Email text contributed by Douglas R., June 5, 2004:

Suject: Go Arizona!!

GO ARIZONA

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 MaricopaCountyJailhave 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 ___________ mouths."

KIND OF PUTS THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE DOESN'T IT?


Example #2:
Email text contributed by Richard D., Dec. 23, 2004:



Subject: Fw: Sheriff Joe - Re-elected

Shierff Joe - Re-elected

TO THOSE OF YOU NOT FAMILIAR WITH JOE ARPAIO - HE IS THE MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF AND HE KEEPS GETTING ELECTED OVER AND OVER.

THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio (in Arizona) who created the "tent city jail":

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 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 isn't the Ritz/Carlton. If you don't like it, don't come back."

He bought Newt Gingrich' 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.

More on the Arizona 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 ½ 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!"

Way to go, Sheriff! 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 taxpayers can't afford to have for themselves.

If you agree, pass this on. If not, delete it.


Analysis: While not everyone who reads the above will join in offering kudos to Maricopa County's "tough-guy Sheriff" Joe Arpaio, the recitation of his controversial policies and public utterances is mostly accurate. Indeed, much of the material is excerpted verbatim from press coverage of Arpaio's 12-year (and counting) term.

Many of the claims are also confirmed in Arpaio's official biography:

On August 3, 1993, he started the nation's largest Tent City for convicted inmates. Over 2000 convicted men and women serve their sentences in a canvas incarceration compound. It is a remarkable success story and has garnered the attention of government officials and media worldwide.

The same is true for his chain gangs which work six days a week contributing thousands of dollars of free labor to the community. The male chain gang and the world's first ever female chain gang clean streets, paint over graffiti, and bury the indigent in the county cemetery.

Equally impressive are the Sheriff's get tough policies. Arpaio doesn't believe in coddling criminals, frequently saying that jails should not be country clubs. He banned smoking, coffee, pornographic magazines, movies and unrestricted television in all jails. He has the cheapest meals in the country too. The average inmate meal costs under 20 cents.

Arpaio's statement comparing prison conditions to the hardships of soldiers fighting in Iraq — "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and the soldiers are living in tents and they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your mouths" — was originally cited in a July 25, 2003 article from the Associated Press.

It should be noted that while Sheriff Joe Arpaio obviously has plenty of ardent supporters, he also has vehement detractors, including the Phoenix New Times, which has chronicled what it calls Arpaio's "serious abuse of power" for over a decade, and a political action committee devoted to recalling him.

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Sources and further reading:

Official Biography: Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Home Page

Phoenix Is Sizzling Through What Could Be the Hottest July on Record
Associated Press, 23 July 2003


Last updated: 07/07/05


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