Boxer Rebellion

When it comes to Sheriff Arpaio's underwear policy, taxpayers are taking it in the shorts

Sounds like a job for the posse.
In the meantime, the sheriff's brain trust is trying to figure out which color of the spectrum women would feel as embarrassed wearing as men are supposed to feel about pink.

The sheriff is surprised that anyone might be critical of the project. "From the day I took office," he says, "I built up the toughness in jail. So I think that's why I was able to get by with this. And quite frankly I have received no negatives from the news media. No one from the news media said, 'What are you doing? This is crazy.'"

Not everyone's amused, however.
"Do they have one substantiated case where an undercover cop bought a hot pair of skivvies? I doubt it," says Christopher Johns, an attorney in the county Public Defender's Office. "Do I think the [smuggling for sales] happened once or twice? Yes. Do I think it was a problem that required pink dye and Joe's face on the front page? No."

Arpaio's policies are popular, Johns says, because they feed a widespread paranoia about crime, but they do so, he adds, without addressing real solutions to the crime problem itself.

"Pima County is screening people better," Johns says. "Joe expounds on this idea of saving money, but--lawsuits for mistreatment aside--is he really saving us money if he's putting more people in jail who shouldn't be there? The jail is a taxpayer resource that needs to be used wisely. He's wasting our money."

Several rural jailers pointed out that part of the public's passion for tougher incarceration may be fed by a confusion over the difference between "jail" and "prison," terms many people use almost interchangeably. Most of the inmates in Arpaio's jail are awaiting trials, and, presumably, are innocent until proven guilty.

Graham County Undersheriff Mike McEuen says he doesn't see the point of making his jail a miserable place: "In most cases, we're just holding inmates until their cases are adjudicated," he says. "Others have been given short sentences of six months, for example, and are serving time. But they're still human beings.

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