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Maricopa County’s Tent City: Where the Punishment Doesn’t Always Fit the Crime

Some call the conditions in Sheriff Joe’s controversial Tent city, cruel and inhumane. In the Arizona desert heat during the summer, temperatures inside the sun beaten tents often soar as to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Some reported temperatures have been reported as high as 150 degrees

Sheriff Joe Arpaio defends his position on the conditions in Tent City. He repeatedly argues that conditions are no worse than the conditions US military service men and women on active duty experience in the Middle East.

One Tent City employee who worked as a cook for the inmates claimed ingredients had often expired, and the kitchen was filled with roaches and rats.

Others complained about having no cold water or proper shelter from the monsoon dust storms that swirled through the tent camp. That inmate reported that they were prohibited from adjusting the tent flaps for no apparent reason, and the dust to fill the tent and stung their eyes.

Over the last 2 decades more than 400,000 men and women inmates have served time in Tent City, with a maximum capacity of over 2,000 inmates at one time. It’s the largest of its kind and has seen many protests, and has been condemned by numerous human rights organizations as being cruel and unjust.

Strangely enough, many feel that inmates serving prison time for dangerous and violent crimes live in far more comfortable conditions in the prison, than those in Tent City.

Most of the inmates serving time in Tent City have committed less serious crimes and most do not involve victims. For example, most cities in Maricopa County require a first-time Misdemeanor DUI offender to serve at least 24 hours in Tent City, and 10 days for repeat DUI offenses. Currently, a pastor serving a 60 court ordered sentence in Tent City, for the crime of holding Bible studies at his home residence.

Despite outrage and protests, the Sheriff states he is proud of Tent City and how he runs his operations. So unless there is a change in laws or Tent City is otherwise disbanded, the program will continue.

Criminal Attorney for DUI Charges in Phoenix AZ

If you were arrested for DUI or any criminal offense, you should consult a criminal defense attorney before pleading guilty. They will discuss your matter and defense options with you. If retained they will defend your charges, and make sure your constitutional rights are protected. There are defenses you may not be aware of that can lead to a favorable resolution in your case. They will work hard to help you fight your charges, and avoid prison time or jail in Tent City.

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