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Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his Protesters

Updated on June 19, 2013
Arpaio's Tent City
Arpaio's Tent City

The Sheriff

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.

The Protesters

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.

Military Tent

Afghanistan - U.S. Military tents
Afghanistan - U.S. Military tents


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.

In Summary

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.

What do you think?

Should Prison be Strict and Tough?

See results


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    • Conservative Lady profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      dragonflyfla, thank you the Up and Interesting! Sheriff Joe is a deterrent to crime - love the quote you shared too!

    • dragonflyfla profile image

      Joy Campbell 

      6 years ago from South Florida

      This reminds me of a quote that is on the internet from Arpaio:

      "“A liberal paradise would be a place where everybody has guaranteed employment, free comprehensive healthcare, free education, free food, free housing, free clothing, free utilities, and only law enforcement has guns. And believe it or not, such a place does, indeed, exist.

      “It's called prison.” In prison everything is free except the prisoners."

      Voting you up and interesting!

    • Conservative Lady profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      rcrumple you are a contributer to society in the most positive way - welcome and keep up the terrific writing.

    • rcrumple profile image


      7 years ago from Kentucky

      Sheriff Joe definitely has the right idea. "Do the Crime, Do the Time" is a concept those concerned more about the victims and less about the criminals adhere to. Mercy is for those that give mercy, not those that prey upon the innocent mercilessly. Stop validating why they did the crime as it only allows for more to validate commiting a crime. Great hub!

    • Conservative Lady profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Thank you for stopping by tonja - I appreciate your comments. I agree wholeheartedly - more prison dollars we save = more money for education and health care. Perfect!

    • tonja niemi profile image

      Tonja Niemi 

      7 years ago from Eagan, MN USA

      I'm a fan of Sheriff Joe and his no-frills prison system. If you break the law, you aren't entitled to the sweet life on taxpayer dimes. Perhaps there would be more money for schools and medical care if the prison systems were economical, like Joe's model.

    • Conservative Lady profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Angela - you are so right - thank you for the nice comments my friend.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      7 years ago from Central Texas

      If this type of prison was the norm we'd not be having to let some convicts go because we don't have room for them -- and that's happening all over this country. Stronger, tougher prisons and tougher parol standards would solve a lot of our criminal problem in this country -- along with untying the judiciary's hands. Excellent, informative Hub. Best/Sis

    • Conservative Lady profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Very well said AR - saved me the hassle!

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      7 years ago from America

      ............I'd need to research the right wing authoritian personalit a bit more??????????? How about researching your soul, mind, and using common sense? Hard conditions and tough love are a deterrent for crime! Don't believe it? Look at Dubai! Almost ZERO crime! Why? Because they cut your hand off if you steal something! I'm kinda fond of my hands being on my arms! TP, why do you care about criminals? They are not to be cared for, they have intimidated, raped, piliged, with no respect for the lives or property of others? They NEED to suffer for their own good! Take me away from refrigerated air and put me on a cot in the middle of a dusty yard and I will think twice before commiting crime again!

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile image


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


      Just what I don't need, another idea for a "Hub". I'd need to research the "Right-Wing Authoritian" personality a bit more though. It does look like the Hub about the woman who on the inside of that "Tent City" might be a go though.

    • Conservative Lady profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Forlanda - Thank you for commenting - it is so disparaging to know that so many criminals in prison have better living situations than many hard working, law abiding citizens....

      AR - I love this Sheriff too - he has the right idea's - too bad there aren't more like him!

      Crash - thanks so much for stopping by - I don't know how much alike Bull Connor and Sheriff Joe are though.......

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile image


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

      Bull Connor must look up from Hell at Joe Apaio and say--my kind of person.

      Thing is he's the kind of "Strongman" that enough folks in the GOP like. Only the skin of the "Outgroup" is different.

      I may help a woman was a victim of this and is working on a film by doing a "hub" about her.

      The more folks know. . .


    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      7 years ago from America

      I love this Sherrif! I want him to continue treating common thugs the way they deserve! Time to man up for these petty criminals!

    • forlanda profile image

      J Forlanda 

      7 years ago from US of A

      Good points!

      Did you know that in California, prisoners even have cable TV?


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