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 185 comments Comments 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."