Sheriff Joe: Flag-Trashing Inmates Fed Bread, Water
ACLU blasts Arpaio's 'publicity stunt'
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2014 2:03 AM CST
Inmates gather next to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio as he walks through a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office jail in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Matt York)

(Newser) – The controversial sheriff who considers himself "America's toughest" is trying to make jails in Arizona's Maricopa County more patriotic, with the national anthem played regularly—and harsh punishments for inmates who desecrate the US flags that hang in each cell. Sheriff Joe Arpaio says inmates who mess with the flag are being put on a diet of nothing but bread and water twice a day, Fox reports. The flag-trashers get a week of bread and water for a first offense and 10 days for a second.

"These inmates have destroyed the American flag that was placed in their cells. Tearing them, writing on them, stepping on them, throwing them in the toilet, trash, or wherever they feel," Arpaio says. "It's a disgrace to those who have fought for our country." An ACLU spokesman says the policy is just another publicity stunt from the sheriff, who is being investigated for civil rights abuses. "It's certainly not illegal, but what he is doing is bad policy," he tells Reuters. "It's just another vindictive policy that has nothing to do with running a good jail system."

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Showing 3 of 185 comments
Joe14228
Feb 4, 2014 9:49 AM CST
I guess he could be giving them french bread (or 5-grain whole wheat) with perrier water. It doesn't sound that bad. But WHY do we continue to associate the flag ONLY with the military? Don't the civilians have anything to do with the US anymore? The people who built the buildings, roads, and schools, grow food, raise kids? That's all part of the picture too.
Ken
Feb 2, 2014 4:51 PM CST
I hear a lot about the lack of educating prisoners. Well for me those in prison are there because they did not follow the rules (Laws), For me, Sheriff Joe is providing the prisoners with some education abut rules. The key here is for them to learn to respect and obey rules. Well done Sheriff Joe..... All other comments really miss the point.....
Confused
Jan 31, 2014 9:32 PM CST
Why is it assumed that all the people who desecrate the flag or not americans? They're locked up...are they going to be too thrilled with the country that has locked them up - even if they are from here?? Probably not...