Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has forced 38 inmates at Maricopa County Jail to live on bread and water for a week after they defaced American flags that he placed in their cells. Arpaio has made an active efforts to instill patriotism in the prisoners by having them wake up each morning to the “Star Spangled Banner” and have them go to bed every night to “God Bless America.” But when he placed the American flag in their jail cells, some prisoners reacted strongly.
Arpaio told prisoners a about the diet they would face if they violated the flag, but dozens of them refused to listen. “These inmates have destroyed the American flag that was placed in their cells,” he said. “Tearing them, writing on them, stepping on them, throwing them in the toilet, trash or wherever they feel. It’s a disgrace … this is government property that they are destroying, and we will take action against those who act this way.”
Arpaio has made headlines in the past for the manner in which he runs the jail. He has removed salt and pepper from prison meals in an attempt to save taxpayer money and has issued pink underwear to delinquent prisoners in his cells. He has also re-instituted chain gangs, served inmates surplus food and limited them to meals twice daily. Arpaio created a “tent city” as an extension of the jail, which has sparked human rights violation
accusations because the temperature inside the tents can reach 150 degrees during the Arizona summer months.
The sheriff is a Korean War veteran, which would help explain his fervent patriotism. He has also hired over 600 former military service members and is pushing to hire even more.
(Photo: Maricopa County Jail)