16 Dec 08

Mass Hunger Strike At Arpaio’s Jail

Phoenix Local News:

Inmates to buy own meals, hunger strike to protest

PHOENIX – Tough economic times, according to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, prompted him to start charging the inmates for their meals.

He says his plan will save close to a million tax dollars. The meal charges do not start until January but inmates at the Durango Jail and Tent City went on hunger strike to protest the new fees Monday morning.

Maricopa County inmates have long complained about jail food. Inmates say when inspectors are there, portions and quality are fine, but when inspectors leave it becomes inedible.

Needless to say, the sheriff's new plan to have inmates pay $1.25 a day for their two meals is not going over well behind bars. One man, who 3TV will only identify as Frank is just out of jail. He says starting yesterday the inmates are boycotting their meals. He tells 3TV, “It's something they have to do to show they're upset."

The hunger strike, which is expected to last from one to three days, is earning the inmates little sympathy from the sheriff.

Sheriff Arpaio tells 3TV, “If they don’t want to eat, that's their problem, not my problem."

The money will come from the inmates' personal accounts, created from cash they had on them when they were arrested and money sent in by family members.

The sheriff says crimes committed by inmates came at a cost to society so charging for meals will help them start to repay their debt.

"I’m not changing the policy,” the sheriff explains. “If they don’t eat we'll save more money won't we?"

The sheriff says he now plans to go to the legislature and get permission to start charging inmates for their beds.

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Shaun P. Attwood

10 comments:

Veg Head said...

I can agree the Mr. Arpaio should be held accountable for the fact that he forces the inmates to live in horrible living conditions but this is not something I necessarily disagree with. I don't think that the responsibility of paying for inmates incarceration should fall completely on the taxpayer. I have no opposition for them having to pay for their own beds either. The problem is too many people being incarcerated for non violent crimes that have created the need for the colossal prison system here in the United States and the taxpayers are the ones picking up the bill. I pay for my own meals, my own bed, I think they should pay for theirs too. I don't think they should get a free ride just because they broke the law.

Chris Phoenix said...

In news stories about the squalid nature of nasty underdeveloped countries we dislike, a feature that's frequently mentioned is that prisoners have to pay for their own meals or starve. I hate to see the U.S. presenting the same face to the rest of the world.

What does Arpaio plan to do with prisoners who have no contacts outside and insufficient cash? Probably let them run up a tab, then keep them in prison for indebtedness...

I'm ashamed to live in a nation that lets Arpaio torture and kill prisoners, steal from food banks, and now, pretend that people rendered helpless by society should somehow be responsible for their food.

I can only hope that Obama will do something effective about the worst aspects of our prison system - which clearly include Arpaio.

~big jason~ said...

being forced to pay for that crappy food is just one more way to create a hostile environment, get media attention , and just be an overall prick. looking at his bulbous and bloated face, with his greasy dandruff laced hair makes me cringe. we need some of those show throwing reporters here.

Dr X said...

"The problem is too many people being incarcerated for non violent crimes that have created the need for the colossal prison system here in the United States and the taxpayers are the ones picking up the bill."

To me, the problem is that American taxpayers support this colossal prison system willingly. The taxpayers aren't the victims. This is what they want.

adrian said...

I used to eat it. I liked it. Especially the pbj ladmo bags.

Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

I think it is foolish to do something to create an even more hostile environment in prison in terms of the morale of the inmates and their physical health. It seems counterproductive. And holding taxpayers to task for being willing to support the prison system is a two-edged sword. Prisons are a fact of life, period. There are those who are life-time offenders, but many aren't. Many struggle with addiction, mental illness, bad circumstances, that one bad choice or many-no one willingly goes to jail. Part of the antidote is involved citizens, and if their involvement is limited to working and paying taxes, then this is what we have. Education helps, volunteer programs help, individuals and families willing to assist inmates help, but the cost in time, energy and money is huge. The only true end to incarceration is a person who makes a willing change in and of themselves. Once that decision is made, then anything else will assist them, no matter what it is. Further punishment is of no benefit whatsoever.

Just a note-my son has already lost 70 pounds surviving on regular prison food. He's not in Tucson.

Anonymous said...

thats crazy and Sooo close to Home...Tent city aint no joke!!!

Mars

Sue, Costa Mesa said...

What a twat.

Anonymous said...

that is absurd.

@veg head, how are they supposed to pay for the food? while in prison, they don't have a right to a job in a free market. Society takes a away basic rights, and most therefor give other things that is not usually a right.

@sue o, yes prison seem to be a fact of life, but if you compare US to any other civilized country(and even most uncivilized) it becomes clear that you can handle that fact in very different and might i say more civilized ways. For me, a european, reading about the us prison system is a shock, every time I do it, because it is almost unbelievable what monster you have created over there. It does not have its equal anywhere in the world nor anywhere in history. And it truly is a mark of shame on the leader of the free world. The irony of it could almost make me laugh if it didn't make me cry instead.

-frede

Anonymous said...

The state of US prisons and the existence of people like Arpaio are a consequence of the US finding itself powerful before its society matured. Unfortunately, it seems intent on remaining a bad tempered bully instead of growing up. The British Empire controlled India with less than 50,000 people and a tiny (though well-equipped by the standards of the time) army. The US tries to rule where it's not wanted, and by force. It needs to grow up.