Sheriff Orders 38 Inmates to Survive on Bread, Water

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(CNN) — A diet of Bread and water is the punishment for dozens of Arizona inmates who allegedly defaced American flags placed in their jail cells.

The 38 male inmates are part of the Maricopa County jail system, which is under the control of controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio.

For their alleged unpatriotic acts, the sheriff said Thursday, they’ll survive on bread and water for seven days.

“These inmates have destroyed the American flag that was placed in their cells,” Arpaio said. “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 flags are part of a push for patriotism in county jail cells that includes listening to the “Star-Spangled Banner” every morning and “God Bless America” every night over the intercom system.

Arpaio implemented the American flag jailhouse initiative in November.

At the time, he announced a push to hire more veterans, saying his office employs more than 600 men and women who have served in the military. He manages about 8,000 in,mates.

“Sheriff Arpaio is a Korean War veteran and a big patriot,” said Chrisopher Hegstrom, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

Arpaio’s tough, headline-grabbing punishments have earned him diehard supporters and fiery opponents along the way.

He’s issued pink underwear to the men detained in the county’s jails and said he is saving taxpayers money by removing salt and pepper from prison meals.

This month, the county announced that his racial and ethnic profiling will cost it at least $22 million. A court ruled in May that his office routinely profiled Latinos during traffic and immigration patrols.

His office has a history of targeting vehicles with occupants of Latino heritage, scrutinizing them more strictly and detaining them more often, U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ruled.

Arpaio has denied any discrimination or civil rights violations, and is appealing the decision.

He was elected to his sixth term as sheriff for the Phoenix area in November 2012.

–By Faith Karimi, CNN


  • Sue Cox

    This is the first time I have ever heard of this man or the story. Unless there is some medical reason, I do not think that 7 days of bread and water will hurt these people.

    • crypto

      It won’t hurt them at all. The whole reason the sheriff does this is he wants you to hate his jails so much that you won’t ever want to come back.

  • kathie

    Good for you Sheriff! Time to draw the line and you know when to do so. I couldn’t agree more with your methods of discipline.

  • mary

    Remember when they tried to give one of the prisons the food rations (from I think it was dessert storm )and they wouldn’t take them ,saying they were not up to standards for the prisoners but they were ok for our soldiers . I believe if prisons were like Joe’s ,we wouldn’t have so many repeat offenders .good job Joe .!!!!!

  • sun king

    Now, they just need to make them spend all day pounding big rocks into small rocks, take away pillows and beds, and leave them only a thin floor mat and a blanket for bed. They are convicted prisoners, they deserve to be punished.

  • Felix Reyes

    I think his doing right America flag is our heart. Punishment need to be more severe.what we do in earth we pay in earth.

  • Jon Diamanti

    Having lived in Arizona the last 46 years has been interesting! Arizona has been involved in some National headline news that definitely people form opinions about! The one area where very few states can criticize Us is law enforcement! Mistreat and abuse an animal, abuse the elderly, rob a bank, abuse Your wife or children, drive drunk, shoot of a firearm in the air, etc., You will go to jail. If this crime happens in Maricopa County, You might go to tent city! 135° in the summer, freezing in the winter!

  • Areyouserious?!

    This is not a prison, these people are awaiting trial. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Take a moment and look up this sheriff. He has a long history of corruption.

    How is he saving money by eliminating salt and pepper, but buys American flags?

    • crypto

      You sound like someone who likes the “bad boys”. I’ve been out there and seen it myself. These are prisoners not just people waiting for trial. They are convicted and if we had a sheriff in Cleveland like this our prisons and jails would not be getting to the point of overcrowded. The reason why there are so many repeat offenders is because they know that the punishment in our County, City, and state is nothing.

  • Cee Cee Cline

    He is known for his harsh mistreatment of prisoners…they are there awaiting trial…what happened to innocent until proven guilty? Society thinks that just because someone gets arrested that they are automatically guilty

  • kathie

    They may be innocent until proven guilty…BUT that is not what they are being disciplined for. He is absolutely right in doing what he i s doing — he is in charge and they are awaiting trial — he is the boss and they had better behave….

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