Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Tent City (Part 7 by Guest Blogger Daniel Horne)

Daniel Horne spent almost a year in Tent City. He is a business executive, husband, and father of two. Following a car accident, Daniel was not charged with drunk driving, but with aggravated assault – in Arizona’s legal system a car can be classified as a weapon you assault someone with. He is the author of the book, Accidental Felons and blog.

Then there was Russo, an ex-Marine Vietnam Veteran who suffered from a number of conditions related to his service in Vietnam during the 1960s. Russo took a number of psychiatric medications and he drank heavily. Russo had spent half his life since Vietnam in various veterans’ hospitals around the United States. The last one was in Phoenix.

He was going to prison for having a particularly bad day in his unfortunate life. Russo had lost his job that day and decided it was an acceptable reason to get stinking drunk. Russo had never been to prison. His crime was caused by a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol. One prescription drug reduced the chronic flashbacks of combat in Vietnam, and he ingested the other to numb himself unconscious. He had been riding home, sitting alone and semi-comatose in a seat on the local bus when he began having nightmares. An elderly woman heard his anguished mumblings and watched him moving about in the seat. She became concerned and woke Russo up. The first thing Russo saw upon opening his eyes was a strange face near his. He slugged the unfortunate woman and she fell to the bus floor unconscious.

The Russo I met wouldn’t intentionally hurt a little old lady. He was not a violent man; he was a Vet who needed help and perhaps different medication. In the pod, Russo was the librarian, having ten to fifteen old, worn-out paperbacks and any number of ragged magazines in his cell all the time. He was a quiet, soft spoken man who looked down a lot and bothered no one. Like a number of men who had patriotically serve their nation in time of war, Russo was missing in action for life. I vowed to order Russo some new books from if I made it to Work Furlough.

Here's the link for Part 6:

Here's the link to Daniel’s website and book:

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Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...

It's time for Joe Arpaio to go!

leigh said...

i'm just curious about the books here----can residents of Tent City and environs just get books sent to them from booksellers? or do they have to have a form of approval to receive books? what about in the prisons in Arizona? in GA we've got to have the person inside get an approval for books (and i can't recall if the actual name/ author of the book has to be on the sheet) and then the books can be picked up by them with sheet in hand mind you when the books come in from the book store/ distribution center/ publisher. it would be wonderful for people who don't have anyone on the outside to be able to just get books from someone out there who just felt compelled to do something kind!

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read the post. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to them. I would like to read more on that blog soon.

Daniel Horne said...

Re: Leigh's Question

I wasn't in prison, but I understand from 2 sources that prisoners can get books via online-bookseller sites such as Amazon, BN, Borders and so forth. I do know from one source that my book is going viral throughout the AZ prison system. That was quiet a surprise.

Arpaio is a different situation. On paper, you can do as above (per the rules). However, deputies open each book and censor what can be read and what cannot. I attempted to ship a batch of books to the jail via Amazon for prisoners left behind and they were rejected by the sheriff's office, no reason is given.

At the jail level, my guess is that it is like most things there. The rules are selectively enforced by the lowest level grunts doing the work. Supervision is so inadequate as to be almost non-existent from what I saw. I don't even know if the actually open the packaged or just stamp return on them when they are having a good chat on the phone, or want to go outside for a smoke.

Bottom line, what you want to do is in the policies, but as a practical matter it's a crap shoot if the books will make it to any inmate or not.

Kind regards to all.