Friday, December 12, 2008

You have to think that we pay, so why shouldn't they?

Yesterday I wanted to get something hot for breakfast. I didn't want the waffles or cereal that we had at home. So what did I do? I went somewhere and purchased some food. Fine and dandy, right?

Apparently, Maricopa County's Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a plan to save taxpayers in his area an estimated $900,000 per year. How? By charging inmates $1.25 per day for their meals. That's not per meal. That's PER DAY. And the cost would only be charged to those who have money in their personal accounts, which equates to only about 2000 of the 10,000 inmates. No. The inmates won't go hungry. Everyone who doesn't have any funds will continue to be served meals but officials would track their meals.

What amazes me is that they say that only 20% of the population has any money. I guess when they get arrested that cash goes into an account. But people can also get money into their account when friends/family send them money. What's interesting is that Arpaio says that any money sent in to inmates to get treats, like candy and cigarettes, would be put into their accounts.

According to Arpaio, "If (family members) send money in to buy chocolates, it's going to go to food first instead of chocolate bars."

Arpaio really makes inmates prison time uncomfortable. He charges inmates when they visit the medical staff. He tried to cut out cable television altogether from the jails but found there was a federal court order requiring a cable tv (WTF?). So his solution was to only allow the Weather Channel and Disney Channel to be fed through the facility's televisions. Ha!

When he stopped serving coffee the prisoners were in an uproar. Arpaio said that the coffee had no nutritional value so there was no reason to have it. "This isn't the Ritz-Carlton. If you don't like it, then don't come back." Good advice.

He even stopped serving coffee with his rationale that it has zero nutritional value. The tent city prison facility has been something that a lot of inmates complain about. Arpaio's response, "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and the soldiers are living in tents and they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your mouths." Yeah. Our soldiers deserve better than inmates.

And to fill their time? The inmates don't have weight-lifting equipment anymore. That's right. Arpaio took away the weight-lifting equipment. Why? There were prisoners who were getting strong because they'd spend all day bulking up. And in a prison? You certainly don't need super-strong inmates.

I'd take Arpaio versus other sheriffs who don't TRY to shake things up and make the lives of criminals less comfortable. Prison shouldn't be a place where you're comfortable. It should be a place where you don't have the comforts of home.

What do you think about Sheriff Joe?

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