Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his Protesters
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona is a controversial figure especially in this time of lackadaisical judicial and even Presidential enforcement of the American laws. Why is Sheriff Joe controversial? Well he is a strong law enforcer who does not let the inmates run the show in his County. He makes the inmates live in tents, he makes them wear pink underwear, and he makes them work during their incarceration. His department, under his direction, is tough on criminals and illegal immigrants. What makes it so controversial to enforce the laws of the land? That is why we pay taxes and keep law enforcement professional employed. We have a need and a desire for a safe place to live and raise our families. We are entitled to that.
Who are the Protesters? There have been many but the most recent are the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Who are the UUA followers? The following is a direct quote from their website:
There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
That all sounds well and good but they are protesting the "unfair" treatment of prisoners at Sheriff Joe's tightly run prison. What about those who were victims of these prisoners. I am much more concerned about the victims rights and justice for their losses.
The Treatment of Prisoners at Arpaio's Tent City
Sheriff Joe has been the named defendant in several hundred lawsuits over the past 20 years. Most of these lawsuits are complaints of violations of the Prisoners civil rights. The Prisoners in Arpaio's Tent Cities are given food, water, clothing, a safe place to sleep, and a job. Doesn't sound terribly bad to me. The Protesters often site the fact that the male prisoners are fed "stale" food, have to wear pink underwear, sleep in hot tents, and work on a "chain gang." They don't mention that Arpaio's program also offers inmates more than 40 beneficial programs to help them better their lives after prison. The prison has drug treatment programs, educational programs, religious programs, and even offers programs to the inmates family members.
The treatment of Arpaio's prison inmates seems far better than what many of the American military members go through during combat tours. They too sleep in tents - in area's that I would not call safe. They are often fed MRE's - and would probably prefer some real food even if it was a little stale. They wear full fatigues even in sweltering heat, and they all carry much more of a load than any of Arpaio's inmates ever could.
We can all agree that if someone goes to Prison it is usually their own fault. We all have choices on how we behave and whether or not we will obey the laws of the land. The prisoners in Sheriff Joe's Tent Cities are their because they made a choice to do something illegal, some act that they knew would have negative consequences should they be caught. There is rarely a crime that does not have a victim associated with it. Whether the crime is robbery, assault, rape, arson, or murder, the victims are there. We should applaud Sheriff Joe for making crime a "choice" the criminal will regret and hopefully think long and hard about repeating once he is released from prison. That is what punishment should do for the criminal - teach him that crime does not pay in the long run. This would help us all in the end.
Those who protest the strong arm of the law in Maricopa County should think about the victims of the crimes committed by the criminals before they protest the treatment of said criminals. If their loved ones were assaulted, raped, robbed at gun point, or God forbid, murdered - how "kindly" would they want the perpetrator treated? I can tell you right now - I am good with the tents, pink underwear, chain gangs, and stale food in Arizona prisons.