Sheriff Joe puts inmates on bread and water

| January 25, 2014

Reuters reports that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has put his charges on bread and water in the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona because they defaced the American flags he had placed in their cells;

“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,” Arpaio said in a statement. “It’s a disgrace to those who have fought for our country.”

The punishment will last for seven days, he said, and a second offense would bring 10 more days of the sparse diet.

A sheriff’s spokesman said the bread provides the daily requirement of calories and nutrients that is necessary. There are about 8,300 inmates in the jail system.

In recent months, the Maricopa County jails have broadcast patriotic songs over the public address systems – “The Star Spangled Banner” in the morning and “God Bless America” at night.

Of course, the ACLU has knotted panties;

“It’s certainly not illegal, but what he is doing is bad policy,” [Dan Pochoda, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Arizona] said. “It’s just another vindictive policy that has nothing to do with running a good jail system.”

Um, doesn’t jail need a certain measure of discipline? Destroying county property isn’t indicative of personal discipline. So shut up, ACLU.

Category: Crime

Comments (48)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. FatCircles0311 says:

    Translation: Prison shouldn’t be punishment!

    ACLU you so cray.

  2. RunPatRun says:

    I loved the litter free byways in Maricopa county, thanks to Sheriff Joe’s chain gangs. The ACLU shouldn’t fret too much, green bologna will be back in the diet in one short week.

  3. O-4E says:

    @2…mmmmmm…green bologna sandwiches on stale white bread and room temp boxed milk

  4. Just An Old Dog says:

    While there is no doubt that the penal system in this country has had several well documented incidents of abuse, neglect, cruelty and corruption the answer isn’t to treat inmates with kid gloves and give them all the privledges granted a law abiding citizen. Criminals should have, clothing, nutrition, shelter, health care and enough physical activity and social interaction to keep them occupied. Prison is about reformation and punishment.
    They don’t get to choose their clothing, the menu or social calendar. If they decide to deface their clothing or living space they can suffer the consequences.

  5. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    I support Joe.

    I love you long time Joe.

    Want a cup of Joe?

    GI Joe.

    He ain’t just any Joe.

    Ever notice Joe is not included in “any Tom, Dick or Harry”.

    “Never in the course of history, have the actions of one Joe, affected the lives so many other Joe’s”.

    I can go on all night … A little help here!

    Joe was married to Mary … the Mother of Jesus!

  6. Instinct says:

    Joe say can you see

    Cotton eyed Joe

    Joe mama

  7. A Proud Infidel says:

    If Sheriff Joe Arpaio has the ACLU screeching like they have a cockle burr in their collective pantyhose, I take it as a sign he’s doing the job RIGHT!!

  8. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    FUCK THE ACLU! You go to the hole, your life goes to HELL! No Cable, work release, gourmet meals or any of that shit!

    God Bless Sheriff Joe!

  9. CATM says:

    I like the sound of this. Serving time should not be enjoyable in my non humble opinion. The ACLU can GFY as well.

  10. JohnC says:

    Even if you buy his approach to immigration (as ineffective as it is), the man — who took Birtherism to a taxpayer-funded low; whose department is now subject to independent monitoring after a breathtaking level of ineffective law enforcement, corruption, and institutionalized abuses of power resulted in many tens of millions in civil settlements; and who put F*ing Steven Seagal on a tank — is a truly vile creature.

  11. Club Manager says:

    Watch yo mouth HMCS(FMF)this is a family web site.

    I say fall the sons of bitches out for reveille and retreat.

  12. Green Thumb says:

    Maybe Sherriff Joe needs to meet The Phildo!

  13. RunPatRun says:

    @ 10, Yup, either love Sheriff Joe or hate him, not much middle ground. Those in tent city jail hate him, but he can’t be beat at election time and a recall effort failed.

  14. Flagwaver says:

    It is amazing that all these people say Arpaio is this or that. Let me ask you, how would you treat the inmates? How would you PUNISH those who break the law?

  15. Seadog says:

    Say it ain’t so, Joe.

    Actually, give them half rations.

  16. OWB says:

    Go, Joe!

    Now, I don’t advocate treating prisoners cruelly, but there is a whole lot of territory included in the not coddling them category. Like feeding them bread and water for acting out.

    All we really need to know is that the people who keep electing him like what he’s doing. And, even the ACLU doesn’t find it to be illegal.

    So, why is this an issue?

  17. The Other Whitey says:

    Incarceration is SUPPOSED to be punishment!

    You don’t like your new accommodations? Then maybe you shouldn’t have broke the law!

    Besides, Maricopa County Jail is a 5-star resort compared to the correctional systems found in most of the rest of the world. Hell, the fact that you have to DO something bad to get in sets it apart from bastions of freedom like China.

  18. ConcernedCitizen says:

    Usually the inmates put into the county system have been able to eat a little better. They usually get PBJ sandwiches, and their ‘commissary’ consists of several coin-op machines owned by his brother. They’ve even been able to put several snack items in order to make crude burritos.

    About the only thing I have some reservations with conditions during the colder months, but that’s neither here nor there.

  19. AW1Ed says:

    My Dad loved telling this sea story:

    On his ship, a Marine was in charge of the brig. When a guilty sailor was “awarded” brig time with bread and water, occasionally raisin bread was provided with the water. The Marine would tear the raisins out of the bread, then sling it to the guilty party. “It sez bread and water. Don’t say nothing about f’n raisins. Eat up.”

    I think Sherriff Joe would approve.


  20. O-4E says:


    I had to escort a kid from Drum to Quantico one time. This kid had been gone from the unit almost 4 years (AWOL then desertion). So long that hardly anyone in the unit remembered him.

    Anyways he gets picked up down in Florida and transported back to Drum and gets sentenced to 60 days at Quantico followed by a DD or BCD I can’t remember.

    I remember dropping him off and they put him in this little holding cell while we did the paperwork. The Marine Sergeant casually asked me how long he’d been gone and I replied “a couple of years”. The kid pokes his face between the bars and says “No Sir almost 4 years”.

    Quick as lightning that Sergeant grabs a nightstick and slams it against the bars right above the kid’s head and yells “SIT THE FUCK DOWN SHUT THE FUCK UP AND DON”T SPEAK UNLESS SPOKEN TO!!!!” then turns back to me “I think we have everything signed you need. Have a good trip back Sir”

  21. Lobster says:

    Sheriff Joe prides himself on treating inmates like shit. These are low-level offenders in JAIL, not prison. Many of whom, are simply bound over for trial. Confinement is only one small aspect of the Criminal Justice System. The ultimate goal is to rehabilitate the offender so that they can be released back into society with the end goal of reducing the recidivism rate. How can you do that when you treat offenders like garbage? Summertime temps in his little “tent city” reach over 140 degrees on the inside. From the official Maricopa County website- “average meal costs between 15 and 40 cents”. The guy makes people dress in pink simply to humiliate them. A few years ago, a courtroom deputy was caught on camera snooping through a defense attorney’s paperwork, and then taking some of it and copying it. Once the deputy as found in contempt, “Sheriff Joe” initially refused to book the deputy because he didn’t think he did anything wrong. The guy has lost a federal racial profiling lawsuit, has forced the county to pay out millions for wrongful death lawsuits, and continually raises his nose to the law. Inmates in jail should never be treated the way they are in his jurisdiction. As far as the flag issue goes, they should never have been placed in cells to begin with. Knowing his history, placing those flags was anything but patriotic. He did it to get a rise out of people and when you treat inmates like dirt you will get the response he did. Just because you are in jail does not mean you aren’t human. Putting a low level offender in his “tent city” without air conditioning, making them wear degrading outfits and feeding them food most dogs wouldn’t eat seems to be to be Cruel and Unusual Punishment. How is taking someone who is probably already upset with the CJS and experiencing a life changing event treating them like that helping? He’s not rehabilitating people; he’s just treating them like dirt. If you think it’s OK what he does, just ask yourself should you find yourself down that way and get into minor trouble with the law, if you would be OK going to jail there or not. Again, it’s jail, not prison.

  22. Top W Kone says:

    the only problem I have with Joe is that he is responsible for holding not just convicted prisoners, but prisoners pending trail.

    These are people who have been arrested, but not yet had a trial or been convicted due to a jury or plea agreement. They get the same treatment as the convicted prisoners. The pink underwear, the mystery meat, now bread and water.

    I don’t see how punishing someone BEFORE they are convicted is fair. (sure it is highly likely they are guilty, but it has not been proven yet.)

  23. Garrysr says:

    @21- As you say, it is jail. Prison’s have time to rehab. Jail is there for a short stay, and if I ended up in this one, I would not want to return- desired result achieved! I’ve been in tents and vehicles at temps of 140 or higher. I survived. If you don’t want to go there, keep your nose clean, and don’t whine for the poor wittle babies that have to wear pink undies.

  24. E-6 type, 1 ea says:

    @22 – You’re right. It’s jail, not prison. Wouldn’t it be awesome if he ran a prison!!

  25. Just An Old Dog says:

    Joe might have the right approach to cutting costs and making sure offenders realize that Jail isn’t club med, but it appears he has a shit load of shady deals and abuses of power.
    He gets away with it because voters, when it comes down to it don’t really care if an elected official is corrupt, as long as they drop the hammer where the voters want it dropped.

  26. Roger in Republic says:

    @ `#22 Think of it as aversion therapy. Jail is supposed to suck. Would you want to go back to a place that treated you badly? Knowing it sucks has kept me from going in the first time. I’m smart enough to take others word for it.

  27. Hack.Stone says:

    For those condemning Sheriff Joe, what is the recidivism rate for those incarcerated at instructions that treat inmates “humanely”. Too often we read of criminals that have been “rehabiluted” multiple times committing horrendous crimes.

  28. streetsweeper says:

    I like it. Maybe Joe should institute daily beat downs in the Maricopa County jail population so that WHEN they do make it to PRISON, they be all like, “Mahn, yuz don’ be hanging an, an, an bangin ’round Phoenix! Dat Joe, he, he, he a mean ol sumbitch. Made me eat green sammidges an, an, an ware dem silly azz pink unnawarz”.


    Long time ago in a small rural county way the hell up north (not to cornfused with UpNorth) a guest of county lockup sic’d the ACLU on the sheriff because the jail was old, decrepid with 4 tiny cells and he had tried unsuccessfully to escape from it. ACLU lawer stood in front of district court judge telling him how bad the county jail conditions were.

    Judge asked the lawer if he’d ever spent a night in the jail. Lawer says “No, but I did take a look at it”. Gavel hits the pad, judge sentences lawer to a night in county lockup. Lawer objected and judge told him, “You forgot to address me properly, in my courtroom. From now on you will say “Your honor” OR you will be spending a few more nights in my dinky, dark, damp dingy jail. County bought four new mattresses…

  29. Sheriff Joe has said it quite succintly: “If you don’t like conditions in my jail, just don’t get put in here.”
    And, not all the prisoners are on bread and water. Just those in the sections that were messed up. He separates those “serving a sentence” from those who are being held for trial, can’t make bond, etc.
    And, he gave me permission to market a design in my online store that sells quite well, from Maricopa County to Ireland, to Australia, to Brazil, and many points in between:

  30. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    The notion that jail or prison is for rehabilitation of anyone is mistaken. Oh, it sounds good and may appear in the mission statements of some facilities, but the reality is quite different. Correctional officers don’t correct anything except their timesheets when an error is found. Their job, like that of their facility, is to keep prisoners in custody until release and to keep contraband out of the facility. Security and control is the be all and end all of the job. That’s it. In this particular instance, the bread and water business applied to a few dozen inmates for destruction of government property, the small flags placed in their cells. I have no opinion of Joe, other than to say that he enjoys the limelight and is forever concocting new ways to get on the TV news. If those who are served by him don’t like what he does, they can–as at least one other person pointed out here–vote for the other guy.

  31. UpNorth says:

    @#28, Thanks Street, but I am (almost) “way the hell up north”. 🙂
    FO got it right in #29, most sheriffs separate those serving sentences from those waiting bond hearings and arraignments, and trials.

  32. CATM says:

    @21 I have lived in tent city before and I have been in armored vehicles where the temps exceeded 150 with the AC going because we were buttoned up. I have also had my fair share of questionable food provided by Uncle Sam while I was serving. I could care less about the people in jail, you did something to be in there. Your complaints are falling on deaf ears with me. I think we are too nice and touchy-feely nowadays.

  33. SGT Ted says:

    Putting a low level offender in his “tent city” without air conditioning, making them wear degrading outfits and feeding them food most dogs wouldn’t eat seems to be to be Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

    No air conditioning in prison? Waaah. Someone call the UN.

    Guess what? People awaiting trial in jail are treated just like those who are there as convicts, if they cannot make bail. They wear the same Orange jumps suit and eat the same meals as those serving time upon conviction. This is in ANY County or City jail.

    I was deployed to those conditions. My only reply is STFU and quit whining about dirtbags being treated the same as any line unit troop. And yes, that DOES include, not just baloney sandwiches, but it’s redneck cousin, Pimento Loaf. I would have killed for a baloney sandwich. Pimento loaf is nasty.

    Goddam Nancy-boys and their provincial squeamish ignorance.

  34. Sam Naomi says:

    Think Mr.Joe should be put out to pasture, and feed some Green Grass, “WELL DONE”. Get real some of you that never served time behind bars, ever hear of Making a mistake?????
    I never served time in all my life but I guess I could have done something to where maybe a day or two could have been in order, but to feed any human person bread & water is uncalled for. Just put the shoe on the other foot and ask your self, How would you like it if you had to eat what Mr. Joe had on his menu for one of your family members that made a mistake. Just my way of thinking, like it or lump it.

  35. gitarcarver says:

    #27 Hack Stone,

    There does not appear to be a statistical difference between the recidivism rate in Maricopa County jail and other jails. That means that we are either spending money in other places we may not need to be spending, or it could mean that the promised results of a lower rate by what many believe are questionable means is not working. Or it could mean absolutely nothing.

    However, in the last year, Arpaio’s actions have resulted in over $7.5 million in settlements in cases where Arpaio was accused of violating the rights of innocent people who dared criticize him and the former County Attorney prosecutor Andrew Thomas (who has been disbarred.)

    People need to be judged in the totality of their actions. While it is easy to support Arpaio in his budget trimming and minimum costs for those who are incarcerated and in his care, it it not so easy for me to support a Sheriff who uses the weight of his office to attempt to silence critics. It is not easy for me to support a guy who seems to be more concerned with his image, rather than rights of innocent people who oppose him.

  36. JohnC says:

    Sheriff Joe = Gene Hackman in the The Quick and the Dead. Except, he’s less like-able and competent.

  37. Sam Naomi:
    “making a mistake” is not what gets people in jails. Making a mistake is using Preparation H for toothpaste, or putting the shopvac hose on the exhaust side instead of the intake side. Getting in jail is a personal decision; when knowing that one is doing wrong. Would I like bread and water? Hell no, but; A. I conduct myself so as to not have to endure the possibility of that, and B. if I were so out of food that all I had was bread and water, I would “dig in” so to speak.
    As I said above, “Sheriff Joe said it best when he offered that if one doesn’t like his place, don’t get yourself put in here. Mistake, Pfffffft.

  38. TheC2Show says:

    Wasn’t Arapaio buddies with good ole boy lovin Babeu? Two Mass guys sticking together, well use to stick together.

  39. Green Thumb says:

    To follow up on myself @12.

    My point is that both Sherriff Joe and Commander Monkress are both Law Enforcement Officers.

    At least according to Commander Monkress in his role as a Reserve (as stated by him in his line of investigation) Brevard County Sheriffs’ Deputy.

  40. OWB says:

    Hmmm. I have made all sorts of mistakes in my lifetime. Not one of them was something for which I could have been jailed. Or at least for which I should have been jailed.

    But, since when law enforcement folks make mistakes innocent people can be jailed, I do not advocate cruelty for those incarcerated. Not sure how anyone can say that treating prisoners the way deployed military members are treated is cruel. It’s not. Most prisoners are actually treated much better than most deployed troops.

  41. JohnC says:

    Enough with the ACLU derangement-syndrome.

    Are they as solid supporters of free speech as they used to be? Not even close. And absolutely reprehensible on religion. the ACLU has extended itself well beyond the proper limits of civil-liberties advocacy, seriously damaging its reputation and its effectiveness. Yet, the ACLU has historically done (and still does) a good deal of noble work. They have been front-and-center many times arguing against, inter alia:

    (1) the constitutionality and prudence of prosecutions under the separate sovereigns doctrine;
    (2) criminalizing/restricting the speech of people clearly loathed by just about 100% of ACLU members (i.e., Terry Jones’ Koran burning; Virginia vs. Black);
    (3) campus speech codes and restrictions;
    (4) the Victim’s Rights Amendment (which would match the constitutional protections for criminal defendants);
    (5) [ed. using cosmetic security benefits] to justify using a pre-determined selection rate to pick subway riders for for warrantless searches, or expanding the power of the Secret Service to criminalize certain speech;
    (6) Reid’s plan for universal background checks, and often for the rights of people traveling with firearms, who’ve had firearms seized, etc.

    That doesn’t mean I agree with all of their positions, especially in the security arena. Yes, they do and say infuriating things (i.e., placing a picture of me in a ACLU newsletter with the caption, “Jack-Booted Thug”). No doubt, many are lost in an epistemological fog where religion and capitalism are the root of all evil. Yet, as schizophrenic as it may be (especially in regional vs. national positions), they generally believe in the process and are generally honorable litigators. (Note: more prosecutors have been sanctioned for unethical conduct in litigation with the ACLU then have members of the ACLU.)

  42. Green Thumb says:


    The ACLU used to be a decent organization that helped people.

    Not so much anymore.

    Now they only take cases that can be sensationalized and used to garner them promotion, attention and funding while people that really could use their help fall by the wayside.

    Classical liberalism at its finest.

  43. Hondo says:

    I would tend to agree, Green Thumb.

    IMO the ACLU is an organization that has far outlived its need, and is now causing more problems than it solves. In general I put labor unions in the same category.

    Both were needed decades ago. Neither IMO are necessary today.

  44. Eagle Keeper says:

    Played like the self-aggrandizing populist media whore that Arpaio is. “I love the cameras, the people love me … it’s a match made in heaven!”

    I have no problem with him disciplining those who have defaced county property, strictly speaking. But don’t pretend that this isn’t really an unabashed media hound (to say nothing of a statist, a fed-gov apologist and petty-ass county bully) using the idol of state religion to maintain his image in the eyes of his “constituents.”

    “Godblessamerica and Sheriff Joe, too! [sniff!]” Feh.

  45. Eagle Keeper says:

    … or what Lobster said @ 21.

  46. MGySgtRet says:

    In the mid 1960’s, my dear departed father used to be the Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment on the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). As such, he ran the ships brig. Now the Captain of the Kitty Hawk was a good and decent man who did not want his brig bunnies having to eat just bread and water. He wanted them to have the same meal that their non confined brethren were eating on the mess decks.

    My father, being a loyal member of the crew and not wanting to run afoul of the Captain, agreed that all confinees would have the same meal as those not confined. The only difference was, my father put it all in a blender before serving it. Everything eaten on the mess decks was put in the blender, to include desert and drinks, usually tea or coffee. The Captain of the Kitty Hawk thought this was a splendid thing and heartily endorsed the practice.

    My father said he had very few repeat offenders.

  47. Old Tanker says:

    If he really wanted to punish them he’d make them eat MRE’s….Chicken ala King morning, noon, and night…

  48. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    That “bread” diet has some people imagining Wonder bread or something akin to it. The bread is a rather large, round loaf, stuffed with nutrients and calories that meet or exceed the recommended daily adult requirements. I would not be surprised if some of the few dozen diners actually enjoy it. After all, there are people who like brussel sprouts. Besides, the normal chow in a jail ain’t exactly four star. Cheese spread sandwiches and PB gets a tad old after a few weeks.