‘America’s Toughest Sheriff’ Takes Meat off Jail Menu

It's just the latest controversial move by Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff

  • Share
  • Read Later
REUTERS / Darryl Webb

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who calls himself "America's Toughest Sheriff," addresses the media on February 9, 2013.

Inmates in Arizona’s Maricopa County jail system already have it harder than most other prisoners. By decree of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, they are only given two meals a day, which they must pay for out of pocket. All inmates, even the mentally ill, are made to wear pink underwear, sometimes by force (the subject of recent litigation). And those residing in Tent City prison, a self-described “concentration camp,” must brave summer temperatures as high as 117 degrees.

Now these same prisoners –totalling roughly 8,000 in number — must suffer one further hardship: they will no longer be able to eat meat.

According to Arpaio, who calls himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” it’s a cost saving measure. In a recent appearance on Fox 10, a local Phoenix affiliate, the Sheriff explained that “little by little,” he’s taking his prison system vegetarian. “There will be no more meat on the menu,” said Arapaio, “we’ll save $100,000.”

Instead, Yahoo News reports, the jail will replace meat with protein-rich soy. Arapaio defended his decision to Fox 10, donning a chef’s hat and endorsing one soy and vegetable dish.  “It looks great. It looks like stew,” declared Arpaio. “I’m getting hungry.” However, the affiliate’s reporter wasn’t sold, pointing out that many of the carrots in the “stew” were brown, and the soy looked like “wood chips.”

“Oh, that’s probably just dirt,” replied Arpaio. “Don’t worry about that.”

Unfortunately for Arpaio, who has been sheriff for 21 years, many are worrying about the way in which he manages his prisons. The 81-year-old has been condemned by Amnesty International and the ACLU for his poor treatment of inmates. According to the Phoenix New Times, Arpaio’s is the first American county prison system that Amnesty has received enough complaints about to investigate.

The courts have also taken issue with the Sheriff’s tactics. In 2008, a district judge found that Arpaio’s jails failed to meet constitutional standards in multiple key areas, summarized by AZCentral as “quality of food, inmate access to recreation areas, temperatures in which inmates taking psychiatric medication are held, and the quality and availability of medical and mental-health care.” In 2010, the same judge found that there remained “significant areas of failure to comply,” and noted that the only improvements made were those that posed no additional cost.

Ironically, despite Arpaio’s obsession with saving money, his policies have left taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in court fees and settlements. From 1998-2010, the county paid out $13 million to inmates and their relatives for injury and death claims against Correctional Health Services.

In addition to legal fees, the Sheriff’s harsh methods have attracted a large number of critics in the media. In 2008, The New York Times Editorial Board called Arpaio “America’s Worst Sheriff,” and criticized the lawman for “a long and well-documented trail of inmate abuses, unjustified arrests, racial profiling, brutal and inept policing and wasteful spending.”

And for his detractors, it’s Arpaio who’s the real criminal. “Sheriff Arpaio is armed and dangerous,” said the Times. “He is a genuine public menace.”

MORE: Did Someone Try to Blow Up Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

48 comments
RachelVaughan
RachelVaughan

THIS MAN IS A CRIMINAL. THE % OF VIOLENT OFFENDERS IN HIS PRISON IS MOST LIKELY 1%. THE MAN IS A SADIST AND A DANGER. HE NEEDS TO BE IN A MENTAL HOSPITAL AND NOT RUNNING 8,000 PEOPLES LIVES! LOOK AT THE PRISON SYSTEM IN SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES, THEY DON'T HAVE MANY REPEAT OFFENDERS IN THIER JAILS. WE DON'T BEAT OUR CHILDREN, BECAUSE WE KNOW WHAT TYPES OF ADULTS THAT MAKES. WHY WOULD ANYONE THINK THAT STARVATION AND HUMILIATION WOULD REFORM SOMEONE? MAKE THEM ANGRY & LASH OUT BUT SURELY NOT REFORM. WAKE UP! THIS MAN IS A DESGUSTING SADIST, NOTHING MORE.

HenriCamin
HenriCamin

He stand on his soap box and touts that he can save $100,000 by not feeding meat to prisoners. On the other hand to defend him against 6,300 cases it has cost more than $50 million tax payer dollars. That's like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

 

GeorgeAdamrovich
GeorgeAdamrovich

I worked in the prison system of Ohio and I have seen inmates treated better than the correctional officers. Arpaio has the right idea in making life tough for those that commit crimes. Them that think he is doing wrong are just as stupid as the inmates. When your daughter is raped or your wife is assaulted than maybe you will agree with what Arpaio does. Stop crying for inmates they have it better in this country than any other.  

DougCheriBledsoe
DougCheriBledsoe

Note: Stay out of jail and you can eat what you can afford.

DougCheriBledsoe
DougCheriBledsoe

God Bless Mister Arpaio. The citizens of his county should not have to feed the incarcerated a 3 star meal. They need sustenance. Gruel is fine. Make them never want to come back to jail. This is the way all jails should be. The benefits are many and saving 100K is ok by the taxpayers.

DrMaxHathaway
DrMaxHathaway

Hooray for Sheriff Joe !!! 

Dear Ringo, As long as Joe keep locking 'em up I don't care if they did anything or not --- they're here illegally.  That's  all I need to know!

RIngo
RIngo

Do any of you pro-Arpaio idiots even realize that a large number of the people who are sitting in these jails haven't been convicted or even gone to trial?  There are a disgusting number of people witting in these jails for months, sometimes over a year, who don't have the money or resources to post bail while they await trial, so they become "guests" of what is very likely the most inhumane jail system in the country.  Before you start trumpeting the successes of this man, start realizing innocent people are also being treated like they are less than animals, not just convicted criminals.

PaulHall
PaulHall

If the pansy judges would back him, the tax payers wouldn't have to fork out a dime in booboo money to criminals.

jjh0159
jjh0159

Maybe if jail is miserable enough, more will choose a lifestyle that doesn't include jail as a path to free food, free housing, free medical. There are many kinds of criminals. Some are smart. Some wear a suit and tie. Some are just stupid. Remember kids,... STUPID IS SUPPOSED TO HURT.

KrisKitsune
KrisKitsune

I'm kind of with this guy. I mean, Jail is tough. It's meant to be, and most of these criminals deserve to be treated harshly. It's not like the guy is starving INNOCENT people. Think of rapists and murderers. By all means, feed them slime and dirt. They ARE dirt if they treat people like that. Why shouldn't they pay too, the world makes children pay for lunch at school, and they're innocent. Inmates don't deserve to be treated like royalty or anything. I think this guy is doing fine at discipline, really. Save some of the taxpayers money.

Realist3
Realist3

It is funny to me to read the posts of people who are removed from the situation.  Jail is not supposed to be fun, nor is it someplace you would want to be, yet people who critisize the Sheriff for doing what the legal registered voters have put him in office to do.  if you don't like the job he is doing DON'T COMMITT CRIME IN THE COUNTY!!!!!

Openminded1
Openminded1

The dummys of Maricopa county keep putting this moron in office , I hear it is mostly the old retired people who vote this media hound into office. he has them fooled with his bs rhetoric . The younger people need to vote this guy out of office and let him drift out of site and mind.

BrandonWilson1
BrandonWilson1

I noticed that this post was very one sided. There is allot of good coming out of it. One, being that the people going into it are less to want to go back to jail. In some countries, the jails won't provide the food, the families of the individual must or they starve.

JohnShuck
JohnShuck

He's not tough. He wouldn't last a week inside.

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

"Ironically, despite Arpaio’s obsession with saving money, his policies have left taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in court fees and settlements. From 1998-2010, the county paid out $13 million to inmates and their relatives for injury and death claims against Correctional Health Services."

Good job, Officer Loco.

shan22044
shan22044

What's scary about this, is what he's probably doing that no one's reporting, that no one knows about except those who can't speak about it. 

eagle11772
eagle11772

I live in Arizona, am a strict vegetarian, and I think Sheriff Arpaio has a GREAT idea !

RachelVaughan
RachelVaughan

@GeorgeAdamrovich WOW, YOU WERE A CORRECTIONS OFFICER? GIVE ME A BREAK! ALL CORRECTIONS OFFICERS ARE, ARE LOSERS WHO WERE TOO MESSED UP TO BECOME COPS! IF YOU DID WORK IN A COUNTY SYSTEM, YOU KNOW ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO GO TO JAIL OVER LIBRARY FINES.

RIngo
RIngo

@DrMaxHathaway So, treating US citizens of all colors and creeds like they are animals is OK as long as he also keeps locking up the people who aren't from the US.  I hope you don't ever have a medical emergency and get mistaken for someone on drugs, and sent to one of his jails until things get so bad they realize something is going on that isn't a crime.  That's happened.  Small scale stroke eventually followed by a larger scale one.  Or just get online and start looking up stories about crap that has happened in his jails to people, some guilty, some not.  Some illegal aliens, some not.  Being a racist isn't grounds for being too stupid to look into the WELL documented history long enough to figure out there is a problem.


Or there is always my own case.  I can share that one for you.  Ever been arrested, booked, and lost in the Maricopa County Jail system for several days?  I have.  It was great.  I was transferred between a series of cells, wasn't given prescription medications I need for several days, went without food on two different occasions for more than 24 hours due to being transferred from holding block to holding block.  After about a week when I was finally allowed to speak to a public defender I was released with all charges dropped.  Funny thing, when someone has stolen your identity and used it as an alias on one of the occasions they got arrested your name is permanently associated with them.  So if you get pulled over for a random traffic stop, for I don't know,  pulling into a closed businesses parking lot before answering a phone call from your wife for example, you could be arrested.  All it would take is a series of Maricopa County Sheriffs Deputies and Corrections Officers being too stupid, untrained, or uncaring to realize that the guy they are holding because they believe it is someone using their alias again is 5 inches too short, too blonde, and doesn't have two full sleeve tattoos.  But keep on supporting him, because hey, as long as he keeps locking up brown people, who cares about rights.  All that courtesy of a blonde haired, pale skinned, male of Irish decent living where this idiot "protects and serves"... his own interests.

RachelVaughan
RachelVaughan

@PaulHall "BACK HIM"? HE'S A CRIMINAL!!!! THIS IS NOT NAZI GERMANY!!! THIS SADIST, HUSTLER NEEDS TO BE TAKEN DOWN!!

Openminded1
Openminded1

@PaulHall This guy is under investigation at least once a year himself. The feds have sent in a federal monitor now to over see jail operations and civil rights concerns. the only county jail in the united states under that kind of control. arpaio is a news media where are the cameras kind of ego maniac. Who is not even respected by other top law enforcement officers around the country let alone in the state.

RachelVaughan
RachelVaughan

@jjh0159 IN HEARING YOUR COMMENT, I SEE YOU'VE NEVER BEEN TO JAIL OR HAD A LOVED ONE GO."FOOD" IF YOU CALL GARBAGE FOOD, OK. "HOUSING" FREEZING, LEAKING OR BROILING CELLS. "MED CARE" WOW! YOU COULD BE AT DEATHS DOOR AND THE OFFICERS WOULD HAVE YOU WRITE A REQUEST AND YOU MAY WAIT FOR DAYS. YOU ALSO MAY HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF NOTHING YET. IF YOU HAVE AN OPINION, MAKE SURE YOU ACTUALLY KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT THE ISSUE. JAIL IS MISERABLE ENOUGH. IN FACT, IT'S OUT OF CONTROL HOW BAD IT IS. BEING SENTENCED BY A JUDGE IS ENOUGH. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE SITTING BACK AND TALKING CRAP? WHAT DO YOU KNOW? I'LL BET THE MAJORITY OF YOU FOLK COMMIT LITTLE CRIMES AND DON'T ANSWER FOR THEM.IN MY COUNTY, A PARKING TICKET CAN TAKE YOU TO JAIL.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@jjh0159 It should not be a resort, no jail is, but this moron is over the top, and has cost tax payers more money then he has saved. He just likes to see his name and mug on TV and in the news.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@KrisKitsune He has cost the tax payers more in his county then he has saved. LAW SUITS in to the multi millions.

Realist3
Realist3

Because you have to break the law, he has been doing what the liberals hate and make criminals accountable for their actions.

jjh0159
jjh0159

@Openminded1 Just make sure that when you're campaigning for the young to vote him out that more of THEIR money will be spent on the inmates. "Liberal (with OTHER people's money)vs. Conservative(with OTHER people's money)'

Openminded1
Openminded1

@BrandonWilson1 This is the USA ass wipe. You would not say that if you spent time in 115 degrees under a tent for writing a bad check to feed your family. As an ex cop i can tell this guy is  not very respected in the law enforcement world. He does like to be in the lime light . He is not tough just old and a arrogant.

Realist3
Realist3

Correctional Health Services is NOT part of the Sheriff's Office

Openminded1
Openminded1

@eagle11772 He is a nut case and belongs in his own jail. all he like is being in the news media. He has not helped maricopa county he has done more damage to the county then help. Even the image of the phoenix area is hurt by this moron. Time for him to retire is well over do 81 years old give it up .

rhylanor
rhylanor

Apparently along with the meat he's pretty much taken human decency off the menu.

fractal.vortices
fractal.vortices

@Realist3 Haha if you're a republican YOU ARE A CRIMINAL.  You actually think you're tough like that sheriff parasite, never worked a day in your lives sucking up every easy buck you can.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@jjh0159 @Openminded1Money is not the only issue with this guy, he is a racist with way to much power and is out of control arrogant know it all never wrong moron. 

Realist3
Realist3

You should check the facts, Inmates have to volunteer to be in the Tents... As an ex-cop, you should be the last one to take what the liberal media is saying, for granted.... Oh ya, thats right, the media never lies... well got to go, I have a date with a French model.

PaulHall
PaulHall

That was taken off when crimes were committed.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@jjh0159 @Openminded1  If the shoe fits , this guy is a racist he has cost the tax payers more money then he has saved in maricopa county due to his racism.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@jjh0159 Ps; That was by order of the federal courts. By the way I am 30 year year retired police veteran.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@jjh0159 @Openminded1 You live in Maricopa County? This guy has more complaints on him and his department then any other agency in the country all race related. he now by or of the federal courts has a federal monitor over seeing his dept. You think race is a issue dummy?

jjh0159
jjh0159

@Openminded1 @Realist3 He may be self promoting, I prefer to think of him as promoting a return to common sense. I still can't get past CRIMINALS enjoying cable TV that WE pay for! In a society where criminals enjoy more of what many citizens CAN'T afford, is it any wonder why there is a high recidivism rate?

Openminded1
Openminded1

@Realist3 I do not listen to the media, and my life after 30 years in law enforcement is all about facts. I dealt with the media the last 9 years of my career as a police commander in a major city. I can tell you he is a joke among high ranking command level law enforcement nation wide. He needs to retire after this term before he gets a federal indictment against him. He has the worst run major jail in the country with more law suits then any other, of which he has lost. he may save money on is menu and tents, but he cost the county 3 times that savings in lost law suits. like i said he is a joke who has fooled the Sr. citizens of that county. he does love the lime light and self promotion.