Sheriff Joe Arpaio Puts Inmates on “Bread and Water” Diet

    January 28, 2014
    David Powell
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Controversial Maricopa County (Az.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio has put 38 residents of the county clink on what he calls a “bread and water” diet. Their offense? Flag desecration. How did 38 inmates have access to flags to desecrate? Because Arpaio put flags in all the cells. So, yes, Arpaio’s grand social experiment has yielded proof that petty criminals will become less, rather than more, patriotic if forced to sit in a cell and stare at an American flag.

Arpaio has been a willing focus of media attention throughout his career, personally claiming that he appears in 200 media outlets every month. He’s even gone so far as to star in the short-lived Fox reality series Smile . . . You’re Under Arrest in which individuals with outstanding warrants were tricked into turning themselves in. So the “bread and water” diet could be interpreted as attention seeking behavior rather than a good faith attempt at jail administration.

In fairness to Sheriff Joe, it’s not strictly bread and water he’s put on the menu. Rather, it’s a “nutra-loaf” consisting of ground-up fruits, vegetables, milk powder, dough, and other ingredients. It satisfies regulations for nutritional requirements, but that’s about it.

“I run a patriotic jail system,” said Arpaio. “I am somewhat disappointed that 38 inmates recently desecrated the flags, tearing them up and writing on them and throwing them in the toilet.”

It’s not the first time he’s invited controversy. Arpaio has forced inmates to live in a “tent city” annex to the jail, which he himself described as a “concentration camp.” He has reinstituted chain gangs (though these are voluntary). He has required inmates over 18 years of age to register for selective service. And, perhaps most famously, he has forced inmates to wear pink underwear, a policy that became so popular with his voting bloc that he expanded it to include pink handcuffs. “I can get elected on pink underwear,” said Arpaio, “I’ve done it five times.” He has also been active in politics outside his office, speaking at Tea Party events and being an aggressive advocate for the “birther” movement.

Arpaio has been accused of various infractions, from failure to investigate sex crimes to misuse of funds to racial profiling. His policies have attracted the criticism of several advocacy groups, including the ACLU, Amnesty International, the American Jewish Committee, and the Anti-Defamation League. In 2008, the New York Times named him “America’s Worst Sheriff.” As yet, the Arizona Civil Liberties Union hasn’t made comment on either the flags in the cells or the diet.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • Reality

    This man is corrupt to the core. He is the poster child for a lot of law enforcement in America. Look what he is trying to do. Become famous and make money. There is no telling how many innocent people he has arrested or set up in his quest.

    You wonder why our jails are so packed? Because there are a lot of people like this man making money off of incarceration. Law enforcement is meant to serve and protect. Nothing more. But lately, look all around us. Law enforcement is making money, doing corrupt things, abusing people, and even killing them.

    America has a problem. It is becoming a thug police state. But go ahead and root for people like Crazy Joe. One day it may be you or a family member in jail with a man like that. He is evil and look at the photo above. You are staring at evil. He is everything that is opposite of Christ and what Christ said to do.

  • Will

    I don't think he's a bad guy many in the news paints him to be. Colorful, creative, but I would not say he's abusive. After all, considering that those who are behind the bars got there by breaking the law, stealing, abusing others, even taking lives.

    • Cedricdouglas122

      you know not everyone in jail is guilty right

      • Rabbi Marx

        True, but the overwhelming majority of the people in jail are.