By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
I must state that the "Letters From Jail" story (December 5) really hit home with me. I've been there and done it, trust me when I say that it's all true, and then some. It is quite a system that "Uncle Joe" Arpaio has come up with. The cruel and unusual punishment, I believe, is just another ploy to get you to sign a plea, even if you're not guilty, just so you can move on out of that hellhole. I spent six months at Uncle Joe's before I couldn't deal with it anymore and signed a plea bargain for two and a half years in the Arizona State Prison. Honestly, I would rather do five years in prison than spend another six months at Joe's.
Excuse me for a second while I wipe the tears that are falling from my eyes. Those poor, poor criminals who have obviously committed some type of crime. How do they do it?
Living in tents, having to deal with less-than-adequate health care, having to put up with the cold and heat, not to mention the food and the roaches. Oh, wait a second, there are children living in the same conditions and they have committed no crimes. These children have no health care, no proper nutrition and no place to rest their tiny, hungry bodies. And let us not forget that while these prisoners moan and groan because they can't get any packages for Christmas, there are children who won't get anything, either. My point to these people, stop your bitching and grow up. You did something wrong, now pay for your actions. I for one do not feel sorry for you.
I read John Mecklin's article against Joe Arpaio with interest in news ("Barbarism As a Public Relations Strategy," December 5). I found only opinion. The article charges, and repeats the charge, that inmates are treated to testicular electric shock and other tortures, yet provides no source. If the source is the inmates, well, no wonder. I am very skeptical of anything an inmate has to say. They are bad people. Inmates are undeserving of any advocacy, yet that is what Mecklin's article attempts. The worst thing about the article was to compare the treatment of POWs to the treatment of criminals. A POW is so far above the ethics and standards of a criminal that it is beyond any reasonable comparison. If Sheriff Joe is "guilty" of torture, he should be prosecuted and put away, not just pushed out of office.
If Mecklin doesn't have proof of his accusations, such as names, dates, times, places, he should be ashamed of his slander and libel against this country's greatest sheriff.
If he does have proof, then he should share it with everyone. The charges he levels had Nazis hung a few decades ago. If he can prove it, he can get Sheriff Joe out of office, as seems to be his agenda.
Editor's note: The source for the column's descriptions of inmate mistreatment is an official U.S. Justice Department report on conditions at Maricopa County jails. The report provides more than sufficient proof of such mistreatment. The investigators who compiled it were well aware that inmates do not always tell the truth.
Under Dick Godbehere, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was known for planting evidence, usually drugs, to justify arrests. Under Tom Agnos, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was known for arresting the wrong suspects for the Buddhist Temple murders, browbeating them into confessions, and detaining them for months, until well after the real killers were found. The subsequent lawsuits cost the county millions. Now, under Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is known for running the county jails like torture chambers and concentration camps.
It's long past time to abolish the sheriff's department. Anarchy is far preferable to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Hitler and the Nazis weren't stopped, and the rest is history. Will someone please stop Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office?
Regarding John Mecklin's column "Barbarism As a Public Relations Strategy," I disagree with the whole article. Does Mecklin expect us to treat inmates to luxury accommodations? If we did, they wouldn't care if they went back. The bottom line is that everybody knows how Sheriff Arpaio runs his jails, and if you don't like it, stay out of trouble and you won't have to deal with it. The only people who bitch about the system are the inmates or people who never have to worry about going to jail. It's the general public's decision--if they don't want to go to the "barbaric" conditions, don't break the law.
I just finished reading the December 5 issue and its continuing expose on the conditions in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails. For months I have been trying to compose a letter about this travesty and have been unsatisfied with my attempts. John Mecklin's column says it all and says what needs to be said. And yet there is so much more to this insanity that has not been told.