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Profile March 6th, 2008

 

The Get ‘R Done Sheriff of Maricopa County

photoJoe Arpaio is used to controversy. Sometimes it almost seems he thrives on it. Joe Arpaio is the Maricopa, Arizona, County Sheriff. He employs unusual managment methods. He keeps getting elected, over and over.

Just one example of his management technique:

Maricopa County was spending approx. $18 million dollars a year on stray animals, like cats and dogs. Sheriff Joe offered to take the department over, and the County Supervisors said okay. The animal shelters are now all staffed and operated by prisoners. They feed and care for the strays. Every animal in his care is taken out and walked twice daily.

He now has prisoners who are experts in animal nutrition and behavior. They give great classes for anyone who'd like to adopt an animal. He has literally taken stray dogs off the street, given them to the care of prisoners, and had them place in dog shows.

The best part? His budget for the entire department is now under $3 million One couple adopted a Weimeraner from a Maricopa County shelter two years ago. He was neutered, and current on all shots, in great health, and even had a microchip inserted the day they picked him up. Cost was $78.

The prisoners get the benefit of about $0.28 an hour for working, but most would work for free, just to be out of their cells for the day. Most of his budget is for utilities, building maintenance, etc. He pays the prisoners out of the fees collected for adopted animals.

The rest of the country is taking a look at the way he runs the jail system, and may well wind up copying some of his ideas.

Another example: He has a huge farm, donated to the county years ago, where inmates can work, and they grow most of their own fresh vegetables and food, doing all the work and harvesting by hand. He has a pretty good sized hog farm, which provides meat, and fertilizer. It fertilizes the Christmas tree nursery, where prisoners work, and you can buy a living Christmas tree for $6 - $8 for the Holidays, and plant it later.

Yup, he was reelected last year with 83% of the vote.

Now he's in trouble with the ACLU again. He painted all his buses and vehicles with a mural, that has a special hotline phone number painted on it where you can call and report suspected illegal aliens. Immigration and Customs Enforcement wasn't doing enough in his eyes, so he had 40 deputies trained specifically for enforcing immigration laws, started up his hotline, and bought four new buses just for hauling folks back to the border.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the man 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 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 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.

With temperatures being even hotter than usual in Phoenix (116 degrees just set a new record last summer), 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 one year. '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: 'Its 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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