Letters From Jail

The cuisine appears to be a hodgepodge of army surplus, food bank and dumpster diving. And the portions, if you can call them that, would make a cockroach lose weight.

Dinner: The salad appears to have come from a dumpster behind the Salvation Army as does the overcooked rice. I think it's rice, it didn't wiggle. Equally vile is the stove-bottom stuffing. It must have come from the bottom of a stove, dust balls and all. It's evident the chefs never learned of the discovery of salt and pepper and a whole list of other spices. The beans are more soup than beans. The mashed potatoes lack that certain everything. And the desserts are appalling. The ice-cream melted, the yogurt weeks out of date, and as for the canned chocolate pudding, the can must taste far better.

Lunch: Forget it. All you get is a Ladmo bag that's more junk than food. The sandwiches are made from cold cuts that are every color but what they should be, and the cheese slices reek and leak yellow grease. The only thing worth mentioning are the Skimpy Joe's doughnut O's.

Breakfast: The plastic pouches of skim milk emblazoned with the laughing cow appear to have been hijacked on the way to some school. (Thank God for that, save the children.) The textured vegetable protein burgers sprinkled with sage faintly remind you of sausage patties and strongly remind you of cork drink coasters. As far as the quiche, I can only say sheesh! Army surplus eggs, cheese, potato bits and either tiny sausages or large rat droppings (I can't tell which), molded into a cold, hard block. The bread slices could double as roofing shingles. The pancakes are probably left over from McDonald's.

To summarize this dining dilemma, I'd rather dine in the dumpster behind Denny's. So pass out the barfing bags Joe. On a scale of one to five stars, Joe owes the scale five points. My next review will be the Road Kill Cafe in Tent City, home of the chain gang hunters and harvesters.

James Langley

225 W. Madison
If hell had an address
It would be 225
Joe would be the ruler
Everbody hide
You're all guilty, claimed the noble guy
Get into cells,
It's time to say goodbye
Bologna sandwiches every day at noon
No coffee or salt and pepper
Very hot in your room
Terrible food, anger and hate
I wish I could leave
Joe said it's too late
After being in here
I'll take my plea
Prison will feel
Like I was set free
Joe Arpaio is nothing nice
The people voted for him
Now they're thinking twice
Rick Martin

Dark Ages Redux
June 30, 1996
First let me inform you that I am presently incarcerated at our wonderful Estrella resort and country club (a.k.a. Maricopa County Estrella Jail) maintained by our wonderful Sheriff Joe Arpaio (a.k.a. Uncle Joe). And according to my constitutional rights I am innocent until proven guilty (yeah, right). But that's a whole other article . . .

Something's up. The food! It's good! There's lots of it! What's wrong with this picture? It's usually watered down and not enough! And once in a while we can even identify that it has meat in it, and what kind of meat it is! But this week we even had chicken on the bone (twice), giant deep-fried burritos (hollow, but they looked good). Wake me. I must be dreaming. You mean it's not just barbecue sauce? Real food. We must be under federal investigation or something (but the feds obviously don't work weekends since our portions were cut in half this weekend).

But with faith, patience and an undying sense of humor and the greatest of imaginations, we find life, rather than mere existence. Prison systems throughout the world are generally ugly, barbaric, counterproductive and insane. And then we have Joe Arpaio's system. Someday our descendants will look back at "Uncle Joe's System" with shock--that such otherwise sophisticated people could have treated prisoners the way we do (sentenced and unsentenced prisoners; guilty and not guilty). The mentality of "Uncle Joe's System" is way before the Dark Ages. You know it has to be when someone from the streets (who eats once a day or once every other day) comes to jail, eats all their food and still loses weight!

. . . The feds should investigate without the system knowing--and see what really goes on, like people not getting medication for days, when they're to take it every day . . .

Your cellblock A inside reporter,
Gale Dudley

The Heat Is On
July 3, 1996
. . . I was wondering if there might be some overseer or big brother agency investigating the goings on here at the Madison Street Jail. I thought it possibly could be a federal nutritional or feeding inquiry, as for the past three to four days meals within this jail have dramatically improved. Though I'm sure this is merely a temporary thing for the duration of whatever prompted it.

. . . It's 6 p.m. and it must be over 100 degrees on all floors throughout this jail where inmates are housed and congregated. The blistering heat within the jail is only an offshoot of that on the streets, but this condition exists in inmate housing and dayroom areas. The pod watch towers and the halls as well as any common areas in which jail staff assembles or spends time are all air-conditioned to a cool 68 degrees or so, while any locale in which you find inmates is burning up constantly.

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