Let's get Sheriff Joe Arpaio booted out by voting Mike in! With Arpaio up for re-election amid a firestorm of corruption allegations, we may just get rid of him this time around.
Mike's vision for Tent City: I will modernize the facility to include basic climate controls. Modern jail security tactics will also be put in place to prevent the current rate of "walk-away" escapes and protect the surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, I will insure that the facility is fully staffed for public, employee, and inmate safety.
My Mum recently sent the letter below to Mike, and we are coordinating with his team:
Dear Mr Stauffer,
My son, Shaun Attwood, spent 26 months in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail on drugs charges. He fully acknowledges that he committed a crime and deserved to be punished. So do I, his mother, but I was appalled by the inhumane conditions prevalent in Arpaio’s jails, and the lack of rehabilitation facilities.
Shaun once asked a guard how Sheriff Joe got away with such illegal jail conditions and was told that the world has no idea what goes on in here. Shaun decided he would let the world know. While still incarcerated he started to write a blog jonsjailjournal to highlight the atrocities in Arpaio’s jails. Fear of reprisals meant he had to smuggle his writing out of the jail with his legal papers. He sent it home to us, his parents, in the UK. We posted it anonomously on the Internet and it was only when the BBC and Guardian newspaper wrote articles about it that the blog attracted international media attention and Shaun went public.
It documents prisoners in cells with temperatures of up to 138 degrees, with only swamp coolers as air conditioning, sitting in pools of sweat, resulting in skin serious infections.
‘The temperature outside is 114 degrees. The trickle of air into our cells feels like hot air blowing from a hair dryer. We are soaked in sweat all day and night. It is difficult to write on this sweat-moistened paper. The majority now have skin infections and rashes, which persistently itch. My skin is so soggy from perspiration that when I scratch it the skin detaches and I end up with clumps of it under my fingernails. Currently, it is hard to stay conscious because the swamp cooler is barely blowing. Inmates are dropping like flies. Here, filth, squalor and disease are the norm.’
The cells are infested with cockroaches. The guards come in and spray the prisoners with chemicals that merely intoxicate the cockroaches.
‘Mark and I have used six tubes of AmerFresh toothpaste and six ounces of Razorless Beard Remover cementing cracks in the walls. The cockroaches still flood our cell every night and I have awoken numerous times this week to observe my hair stood on end and cockroaches crawling on my body.’
His blog tells of food containing parts of dead rats, gang violence, drug taking and death, inflicted on inmates by Arpaio’s guards as well as other prisoners, resulting in millions being paid out in law suits by the tax payers of Phoenix, as you are already aware.
When Shaun started to write home about the conditions I could hardly believe that this was allowed to happen in America. If he had been arrested in a developing country it would have been unacceptable, but expected, not in America. Shaun spent all of his time in prison reading, writing and improving himself. He was self-motivated. Many of the inmates need a helping hand to motivate them to do something better with their lives, and to avoid criminal behaviour.
Appearing to be soft on crime is not popular, but I know that you are dedicated to making Maricopa County a better place for all its citizens, even those who may have broken the law, and I’m sure you will agree that treating inmates like animals, and keeping them in sub human conditions, will not make them better people. It is more likely to breed a hatred of authority and encourage anti-social behaviour, as the crime statistics in Phoenix prove. Tent City is a disgrace, and I agree with your plans to provide work and education for the inmates, rather than lying around where they are more likely to indulge in further criminal behaviour.
Since his release Shaun has written a book Hard Time which exposes human rights abuses by Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the Arizona jail system. The pink boxer shorts, prison stripes and return of chain gangs are well known in the media circus that is Joe Arpaio, and he is proud of his ‘tough on crime’ image, but I feel that most Americans would be shamed by the treatment of the unsentenced inmates in Arpaio’s care.
America was good to Shaun. He went to America a penniless student, having graduated from Liverpool University with a business degree. He worked hard and became a stock market millionaire, but then lost it all through involvement with the Rave scene and Ectasy. He served 6 years in total. He has been home for 3 years and has completely changed his life, and now talks to teenagers in schools and colleges about the dangers of going down that path. His book is a cautionary tale for young people. A teacher at one of the schools where he did his talk said it should be on the national curriculum.
Although I am deeply ashamed of the crimes my son committed, I am proud of the way he has rehabilitated himself. He gets constant emails from the students he talks to telling him how his talk has changed their lives. Since his release he has worked tirelessly writing Hard Time which was published in the USA by Skyhorse Publishing in May 2011 and published in the UK by Mainstream a division of Random House. I am taking the liberty of enclosing a copy of the UK edition of Hard Time as I feel the contents may be of help to you.
We are an ordinary family from the north west of England. I am a retired teacher and my husband has a small insurance business. We were devastated when Shaun was arrested, and I had a nervous breakdown, but with the support of friends and family we got through it. It is a nightmare that could happen to any family. He has rehabilitated and redeemed himself through hard work, and if he can save other young people from getting involved in drugs our suffering will have been worth it.
I am a great admirer of your work, and what you are trying to achieve in Arizona, I hope you will help to stop the wrongs that are being purpetrated by Joe Arpaio and help to end this abuse. I wish you luck with your campaign, and although Shaun cannot return to America, if there is anything Shaun or I can do to help you in the pursuance of your election, please contact us.