'Toughest Sheriff' Puts Inmates on Bread and Water Over Defaced Flags

Image: 'Toughest Sheriff' Puts Inmates on Bread and Water Over Defaced Flags

Friday, 24 Jan 2014 12:50 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a special punishment for 38 inmates who allegedly defaced the American flags placed in their jail cells — they'll get fed nothing but bread and water for seven days.

"These inmates have destroyed the American flag that was placed in their cells," Arpaio told CNN. "Tearing them, writing on them, stepping on them, throwing them in the toilet, trash or wherever they feel. It's a disgrace . . .  this is government property that they are destroying, and we will take action against those who act this way."

The sheriff started putting the flags in the Maricopa County Jail's cells in November as part of a push for patriotism that also requires playing of the national anthem over the intercom every morning and "God Bless America" every night before they go to bed.

Arpaio, a Korean War veteran who calls himself "America's Toughest Sheriff," also at that time said he wanted to hire more veterans in his department, he said already employs about 600 men and women who served in the military.

The sheriff's punishments have earned him supporters and opponents." Men in the county's jails are issued pink underwear, and he has ordered salt and pepper to be removed from prison meals as a cost-saving measure.

But Arpaio's punishments and practices have also brought him a great deal of legal problems. A court ruled last May that Arpaio's deputies routinely profiled Latinos during traffic stops and while on immigration patrols, a decision the sheriff is appealing.

Meanwhile, the controversies seem to be helping Arpaio's political aspirations — including another run for governor.

He said this week he's added $3.5 million to his campaign war chest, mostly from out-of-state donors, and hinted he may either seek a seventh term as sheriff or run for governor, reports Fox News.

"Every four years, my supporters encourage me to run for governor," Arpaio said in a written statement. "Based on these fundraising numbers and knowing I could be competitive, I will have to give it serious consideration."

Related Stories:

Arizona ‘Toughest Sheriff’ Arpaio Wins After Hispanic Opposition

Hundreds Rally to Back Sheriff Joe Arpaio

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