If press reports are true, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is planning to run for Governor of Arizona. Joe Arpaio bills himself as America’s toughest Sheriff. He is currently Sheriff of Maricopa County Arizona.
During his time as Sheriff, Joe Arpaio is infamous for treating inmates as sub human. In fact, inmates in his jails are only allowed to send out postcards to the outside using a picture of Joe with animals. Sheriff Joe created “tent city” where inmates in the Durango County jail are housed in outside tents even in the heat of summer. Joe started the trend of using pink underwear and handcuffs and stripes as forms of humiliation. Sheriff Joe also cut meals down to twice a day for inmates. All of this in the name of stopping crime and “scarring people straight.
Durango County Jail also acts as a holding facility for Federal inmates and short-term low security residents.
There is little to suggest that such harsh treatment helps stop crime, and in fact much to show that this type of treatment furthers crime and creates an angrier population. When this insider was at a Federal camp in Phoenix I saw first hand the anger and humiliation of women who had been transferred in from a Sheriff Joe jail. These women and the men who have been there also, will likely suffer PTSD and other problems for years to come.
So, does the Sheriff Joe approach work ,and is he really about stopping crime and saving Arizona? Well, the FBI and Department of Justice are not so sure. Joe Arpaio is under investigation for using his position of influence to “settle political vendettas” as well as for civil rights violations. It seems Joe also loves the media hype and limelight, as he has a book out and a TV reality show.
There is no doubt that the people of Arizona have major crime problems stemming from drug trafficking in Mexico and that something must be done. However, this insider says no to Sheriff Joe as Governor and reminds Joe that there was another power-hungry Sheriff from Orange County, California who last year was sentenced to 66 months in Federal Prison. Remember Mike Carona?
Arizona, you deserve better.