Arizona Sheriff Ordered To Clean Up Jails

Controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio lost yet another legal battle as a unanimous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Arpaio to fix jails that do not meet constitutional minimums when it comes to food quality and housing conditions.  Arpaio had appealed a 2008 ruling that mandated Maricopa County to change the conditions in the jails under his supervision immediately.

In a 2008 trial, plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleged that the Sheriff’s Office fed pre-trial detainees moldy bread, rotten fruit and other contaminated food.  The trial also established that the prison cells these detainees were held in were hot enough to endanger their health.

The district court ruling required Sheriff Arpaio to address the severe overcrowding in his prisons (a result of his equally controversial immigrant sweeps) and to ensure that all detainees receive necessary medical and mental health care.  The ruling further required that all detainees be given access to all medications prescribed by correctional medical staff, be given access to exercise and to sinks, toilets, toilet paper and soap, in addition to being served food that meets or exceeds the US Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines.

The ruling clearly establishes that unconscionable treatment of literally thousands of pre-trial detainees will not stand, no matter how “tough” this sheriff thinks he is.  Quite simply the Constitution applies to everyone, including those who are awaiting trial and adjudication.

Arpaio continues to refuse to cooperate with federal investigators in connection with civil rights lawsuits filed against him and his office.  He also faces charges of surveilling potential political rivals.

photo courtesy of cactusbillaz via Flickr


LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you.

Ed G.
Ed G7 years ago

Hope S:
That is very true however if the prisoners were found guilty and awaiting trasportation the a state prison they still deserve to be treated humanely.
Its been a couple of years and I do not remember where exactly this took place but the sheriff made the prisoners wear pink and treated them less than humanely (Arizona??). He got away wioth it for a long time. I do not remember what had happened after the story was in all the papers.

Jana Zajicova
Jana Zajicova7 years ago

But as such things are going on everywhere in the don´t know anything about it? It is not only about almost unbearable conditions, also some cop´s treating prisoners is, let´s say, VERY would think they shouldn´t employ the mentally ill people there, or, at least, if something like this happens, there is somebody of any influence who is interested in this. I am afraid, there is not :(

Grace B.
Grace B7 years ago

This man should not have a badge. He's seems to be abusing his power.

Hope S.
Hope S7 years ago

Many have said this before but it is well worth repeating. These prisoners are pre-trial detainees; which means they have not yet been convicted of anything.

It is disturbing that so many people do not respect Constitutional rights when it comes to other people, yet are the first to scream the loudest when they perceive their rights have been
infringed upon.

In any case prisoners should be treated humanely, given edible food, water, medical attention if needed, and live in hygenic quarters. To make them do hard labor in 120 degree and above temperatures is cruel and unusual punishment.

This man is on an ultimate power trip which has corrupted his morals and those who support him.
If and when a prisoner is found guilty his punishment is incarceration or in the case of a heinous crime possibly the death penalty. It should not be in the power of the sheriff to abuse
and/or torture prisoners.

Shame on you Arizonians that think this is OK!

Angela Burrow
Angela Burrow7 years ago

How long is this idiot of a sheriff going to ignore the laws of the USA and do exactly as he wants? Furthermore, it;s not just laws he's disregarding but also Human Rights laid down by the UN. It's about time this 'dictator', who believes himself above all rules and regulations, is sacked.

gary leigh
gary leigh7 years ago


Carole F.
Carole F.7 years ago

I used to respect this joker until I found out that he was corrupt himself and is a bigot. Prisons should be filled with real criminals, not those unfortunate enought not to be born here and looking for an escape from crime and poverty. I don't mind living next door to an undocumented person...I do mind living next door to an ax murderer.

Past Member
Past Member 7 years ago

As a former resident of Maricopa County in Arizona, i can say that I pretty much agree with Jaime Torquemada.

I can also say, again as a former resident of Maricopa County, that Arpaio will continue to ignore the court orders... .