Last week, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s use of racial and ethnic profiling cost Maricopa County at least $22 million to monitor and re-train those in the county’s employ.
This week, Sheriff Arpaio announced that he is punishing 38 unpatriotic inmates by scaling back their diet to bread and water.
Arpaio told CNN that “these inmates have destroyed the American flag that was placed in their cells. 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.”
The Sheriff initiated what he called his “patriotic jails” initiative in November, according to which “[a]ny defacement or vandalism of the [United States] flags by inmates comes with the penalty of bread and water.” Also part of this initiative is the playing of “God Bless America” and the national anthem at intervals throughout the day.
Arpaio’s harsh treatment of inmates in his care has cost the taxpayers of Maricopa County millions of dollars. In 2012, the family of Deborah Braillard sued the county for $3.25 million after the woman slipped into a diabetic coma and died. According to the Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times, “Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s goons and goonettes denied [Braillard’s] pleas for medical treatment and ignored her as she moaned, defecated, and vomited on herself and others.”
Six years earlier, a federal jury awarded the family of Charles Agster III $9 million after Arpaio’s detention officers forcibly restrained the developmentally-challenged man in a manner that led to his death.