Inhumanity Has a Price

Corpses, a flesh-eating virus, the most-sued sheriff in America. Lawsuits against Joe Arpaio have cost us $41 million, so far

Maricopa County law enforcement violated the constitutional rights of this newspaper's readers in October. Using secret grand jury subpoenas, County Attorney Andrew Thomas sought records that would reveal the identity of anyone who'd looked at New Times online in the past four years. When the paper's leaders revealed the grand jury probe in a cover story, sheriff's deputies arrested them.

The assault on New Times began in 2004 when the paper published Sheriff Joe Arpaio's address as part of an investigation into his hidden commercial real estate transactions. Arpaio demanded that the newspaper be prosecuted under an arcane statute that makes it illegal to publish law enforcement officers' addresses in cyberspace, even though that data is readily available on government Web sites and is perfectly legal to publish on newsprint.

Thomas responded by appointing a special prosecutor, who demanded not only the records and e-mails of the paper's writers and editors — but also sought sensitive information on the Internet-viewing habits of our readers. On October 18, New Times published a cover story revealing the invasive subpoenas.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio compares unfavorably to L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca when it comes to jail conditions.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio compares unfavorably to L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca when it comes to jail conditions.
Baca's office dealt with MRSA infections five years ago. Arpaio's office has yet to start.
Baca's office dealt with MRSA infections five years ago. Arpaio's office has yet to start.
Jail records documented Deborah Braillard as diabetic. That didn't stop guards from denying her medical requests and insulin. Braillard died as a result.
Jail records documented Deborah Braillard as diabetic. That didn't stop guards from denying her medical requests and insulin. Braillard died as a result.
During his "Dirty Dining Crackdown," County Attorney Andrew Thomas could've charged Sheriff Arpaio with criminal health violations in jail kitchens. He didn't.
AP/Wide World
During his "Dirty Dining Crackdown," County Attorney Andrew Thomas could've charged Sheriff Arpaio with criminal health violations in jail kitchens. He didn't.

That story violated grand jury secrecy statutes, but the revelations in the article, compounded by the subsequent arrest of Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey and CEO Jim Larkin, sparked public outrage. County Attorney Thomas fired the special prosecutor and dropped all charges. He also abandoned the Arpaio-inspired probe of the paper.

As the smoke began to clear, this newspaper began a series, "Target Practice." The project sprang from a fundamental question: Why did law enforcement — the sheriff and the county attorney — believe they could force a newspaper to reveal the identities and habits of the publication's readers?

Our investigation has made one thing clear: Maricopa County's sheriff has a vivid history of ignoring the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He's trampled the rights of prisoners, political enemies, and media critics. In partnership with the county attorney, the pair have expanded their enemies list to include the judiciary and immigrants. Private citizens and their Internet-viewing records were merely the latest victims in a long line.

"Target Practice" seeks to explain how we arrived at this moment.

Like most attorneys, Kathleen Carey leads a busy life. So she didn't take much time to examine what looked like a pimple on her arm. Twelve days later, Carey's arm had ballooned to nearly twice its normal size, and pus was oozing from a boil where the zit had been.

After $180,000 in medical bills, four doctors, and two hospitals, Carey learned that the supposed pimple was actually the flesh-eating "superbug" bacteria commonly known as MRSA staph infection. You may recognize MRSA from recent news reports, following a study concluding that more Americans die each year from antibiotic-resistant MRSA infections than from HIV/AIDS.

MRSA commonly spreads through hospitals, but Carey hadn't been to a hospital or doctor for months before her infection. So where did she get the potentially fatal infection?

Carey says she knows exactly where she got it — the Maricopa County Jail. She wasn't there as an inmate, but as an attorney visiting her client. She was used to inmates complaining about skin infections. Then one day after her visit, Carey noticed the zit. Two weeks later, she was in the hospital with an IV in her arm. Now, more than a year after her hospitalization, she still has a scar from the ordeal.

The damage didn't stop there. Once Carey learned about the deadly and contagious nature of MRSA infections, she paid to have her home professionally cleaned. Everything was sanitized, she was told.

Two months after Carey's battle with MRSA, her 17-year-old son asked to use her computer. Within 48 hours, he contracted the same strain of MRSA. Even with the family's early detection and knowledge about MRSA, he nearly lost his arm to the aggressive flesh-eating bacteria. He now has a two-inch scar where the infection began.

Carey is one of many Maricopa County residents who've never been booked into Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails but who are paying dearly for conditions inside his lockups.

Vermin, filth, medical care suggestive of POW camps, chronic mismanagement, the wanton destruction of records, and a steady parade of corpses in Maricopa County jails have cost taxpayers an astonishing — and until now, undisclosed — 41.4 million dollars.

Joe Arpaio has perpetuated his reign as "America's toughest sheriff" with an open checkbook.

Your open checkbook.

The Sheriff has captured the imagination of voters with his almost cartoonish contempt for the prisoners in his charge. He's subjected inmates to pink underwear, chain gangs, and rancid bologna sandwiches, and he's garnered big wins at the polls. But Arpaio's jail policies have generated a tsunami of lawsuits from prisoners and their families.

There simply isn't another jail system in America with this history of taxpayer-financed litigation.

New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, for example, collectively housed more than 61,000 inmates per day last year. From 2004 through November of this year, these same county jails had a combined 43 prison-conditions lawsuits filed against them in federal courts.

In the very same three-year time frame, despite housing a mere 9,200 prisoners per day, Sheriff Arpaio was the target of a staggering 2,150 lawsuits in U.S. District Court and hundreds more in Maricopa County courts.

With a fraction of the inmate population, Arpaio has had 50 times as many lawsuits as the New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston jail systems combined.

Based on records produced under the Freedom of Information Act, a review of federal and state records and a comparison with other correctional facilities, the picture that emerges is clear: Cruelty costs.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Paul Chagolla refused to arrange an interview with Arpaio for this story.

Earlier this month, the front pages of local daily newspapers were dominated by stories about the sheriff exceeding his budget by a million dollars. The courthouse was shuttered for a day. Positions were slashed, and visiting hours for attorneys and court personnel were cut drastically. Naturally, that meant another lawsuit (Arpaio lost and has appealed).

County taxpayers have footed an undisclosed fortune to sustain Arpaio's image as a tough lawman. The $41.4 million taxpayers coughed up to insure for, defend, or settle lawsuits is just the edge of the cesspool — one result of inhumane conditions that have long made Arpaio's jails the target of investigations from both the federal government and advocates like Amnesty International.

Arpaio has an 11-year history of ignoring expert warnings that his jails violate basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution and threaten life and limb. At least 11 inmate deaths have directly resulted from Arpaio's refusal to heed such warnings.

In that time, the deductible for the county's insurance policy to cover lawsuits against the sheriff has jumped from $1 million to $5 million. The annual premium has quadrupled in recent years. These dollars come out of the county's coffers, not from Arpaio's annual budget of $288 million, which he's already overrunning this year.

And which is $60 million more than the sheriff budget in a county jail of similar size in Houston.

While the sheriff has long argued that his crude jails prevent crime, a study that his office commissioned, and that cost $19,900, found that Arpaio's jails have no effect on inmate recidivism.

Despite the cost, the primary victims of Arpaio's mismanagement are not taxpayers, or even attorneys like Kathleen Carey, but indigent inmates like Michelle McCollum.

McCollum, who was arrested for drug possession, could not make bail and, therefore, waited for trial in Arpaio's lockup. She eventually was sentenced to nothing more than probation.

A medical test administered when McCollum was admitted to jail confirmed that she was pregnant.

On August 22, 2005, McCollum sat on the concrete floor of the Fourth Avenue Jail, a facility un-affectionately known by inmates as "The Matrix" (because the lights never turn off). She longed for a mattress and tried hard to overlook the rotting food and soiled feminine napkins on the floor.

Suddenly, two inmates attacked her, pummeling her face, back, and abdomen.

McCollum and another cellmate reported the beating to detention officers, pleaded for medical help, and reminded deputies that McCollum was pregnant and had been hit in the stomach. McCollum also put in a medical request to the infirmary.

No doctor or nurse looked in upon the injured McCollum.

Two days later, McCollum sat in the courthouse, chained to a row of inmates, when she started to bleed. She bled for five hours, looking frighteningly like Stephen King's infamous Carrie. The inmates chained to McCollum to await their arraignments began to complain. Detention officers ignored the prisoners.

When she arrived at the E-Pod in Sheriff Arpaio's Estrella Jail, a bloodstained McCollum again told guards about her beating and her need for medical care. An officer put in a priority request for medical attention, but nobody came. Alarmed at McCollum's loss of blood, a guard finally ushered her to see a doctor.

Infirmary workers called an ambulance and rushed McCollum to Maricopa Medical Center. Doctors there found her baby with an ultrasound, but they couldn't find the baby's heartbeat. The baby was dead.

Doctors told the jail guards that McCollum must return to the hospital in two days — on August 26 — to see if the fetus would pass on its own.

Ten days later, the jail had yet to deliver McCollum to her hospital appointment. On September 5, while McCollum stood holding her tray in the food line, the bleeding started again.

Still, nothing was done.

Three weeks after the ignored doctor's appointment, McCollum was finally rushed to the county hospital for the second time. She had lost so much blood that doctors gave her a massive blood transfusion. Then they removed the dead fetus.

It's important to note that McCollum hadn't been convicted of a crime. Like inmates whose deaths are recounted later in this story, McCollum was awaiting trial — innocent under the law.

Ignored cries for medical attention and resulting agony are not uncommon in Arpaio's jails.

"Only 40 percent of inmate sick-call requests are responded to in a timely manner . . . Because sick-call requests are not responded to in a timely manner and health appraisals are not completed within the required time frames, an inmate's health status is likely to deteriorate while in the custody of Maricopa County," concludes an audit of jail conditions done for the county two years before McCollum lost her baby.

Every sheriff gets sued over jail conditions. The problem is that Joe Arpaio gets sued thousands of times more than any of the others.

Before Arpaio's reign, Maricopa County didn't bother to pay for liability insurance. And with good reason — the county wasn't losing multimillion-dollar lawsuits or paying families millions to settle their claims.

Peter Crowley, Maricopa County's risk manager, says the county's insurance rates have skyrocketed during Arpaio's tenure. "I wasn't here back when [the Scott Norberg case] happened," Crowley says of Arpaio's first major loss, a suit the county settled for $8.25 million. "But I can tell you this: Our deductible was only $1 million a few years back. Now it's $5 million."

Early into Arpaio's reign, county officials realized they needed insurance. They were able to get a relatively cheap policy, and from 1995 to 1998, the county paid $328,894 a year for an insurance policy with a $1 million deductible.

But now, after Arpaio's lawsuits have cost the county $30 million in legal fees and cost insurance companies millions more, it pays four times as much for a policy. That policy doesn't even cover lawsuits under $5 million.

Today, Maricopa County pays a yearly premium of $1.2 million for outside insurance with a $5 million deductible. For any lawsuit that costs $5 million or less, the county foots the entire bill. It's the best policy the county can get given Arpaio's dismal track record.

Since 1995, that yearly insurance premium alone has cost taxpayers $11,345,609, according to the county's Risk Management Office. More staggering is the official grand total of Arpaio's attorney's bills, lawsuit settlements and payments: $30,039,928.

Both figures were listed in a report produced by county officials after a recent New Times public-records request. Combined, they show the cost to insure for and defend against Arpaio lawsuits totals $41.4 million.

In Joe Arpaio's jails, even the paperwork is deadly.

For $6 million, the jails could have built a computer database of inmate health problems. Such a database, advised jail auditor Moore and Associates in 2000, would improve healthcare for inmates and improve efficiency for jail employees.

Three years after that finding, a 2003 audit concluded, "Personnel report that medication errors occur on a regular basis" and "there is a significant backlog in health-record filing that has been estimated to be between eight months to one year . . . the health records are not current and continuity of care cannot be maintained."

Five years after that first warning, the jail still hadn't built an electronic database for inmate health problems.

Deborah Braillard died as a result.

She had been arrested for riding in a stolen car.

When Braillard, 46, an insulin-dependent diabetic, started shaking, vomiting, and fading into a diabetic coma, Arpaio's detention officers decided against taking her to the infirmary.

She had been in perfect health when she entered Arpaio's jail, but after two days without insulin, she was on the verge of a coma.

Numerous inmates, including Braillard's cellmates, who rattled cell bars and hollered for guards, say asking for medical treatment in Arpaio's jails often merits a reply from guards that you're faking it.

Braillard wasn't faking it.

Tamera Harper was one of three Estrella Jail cellmates of Braillard's who told an identical story of what happened next.

"I woke up to hear Deborah Braillard moaning and crying for help. The detention officers moved her to a television room to keep her from disturbing other inmates," Harper wrote in a court declaration.

The detention officers didn't take Braillard to the jail infirmary.

The cellmates all say that when officers flopped Braillard back into her bunk the next morning, January 23, 2005, she was unconscious. The inmates attempted to feed Braillard sugar, but she began convulsing.

Jail employees eventually arrived, lifted Braillard into a wheelchair, and opted for non-emergency transport to the Maricopa County Medical Center, where she was quickly transferred to the intensive care unit. Hospital doctors reversed the diabetic coma with basic insulin and fluids. But the damage was done.

Eighteen days later, Braillard's daughter Jennifer watched as a county physician, Dr. Scott Van Poppel, declared her mother dead — ultimately from going 70 hours without insulin in Arpaio's jail.

When Sheriff's Detective J. Bryant arrived to check out Braillard's body, he pulled back the blue hospital blanket to note that Braillard's limbs were swollen, her toes were already black, and her calves were spotted with sores. Hospital tubes and IVs were still in her body.

The problem isn't just that the jail denied Braillard insulin and refused to treat her. It's that the jail knew Braillard was diabetic before she was even arrested.

Like many inmates, Braillard had passed through the jail months earlier. On that visit, she had marked the jail's intake sheet, declaring her diabetes. The jail's health records documented Braillard's need for insulin.

Yet, on her second incarceration, jail employees denied her insulin, ignored her cries for help, and failed to get her insulin when she became unconscious.

A shoestring budget-records system of paper folders (with misspelled and misfiled names) costs healthcare employees hours of time spent inefficiently, warned the 2000 Moore and Associates audit. It also probably cost Braillard her life.

An electronic database (as was standard in most jails of Maricopa County's size by 2005) would surely have shown Braillard was diabetic and saved her life.

Consider that Harris County (Houston), Texas, operates a jail and sheriff's department of a similar size on a budget of $60 million less than Arpaio's. Harris County is no model jail, but officials there say they've had an electronic database of inmate health concerns for years. An electronic database for Maricopa County jails was finally started in July of this year — 18 months after Braillard died and eight years after auditors advised its installation.

The $6 million database was commissioned not by Arpaio but by healthcare officials, on the advice of a third-party consulting company recently hired by the county to "turn around" jail healthcare. The database should be finished by 2012 — 13 years after it was recommended and seven years after Braillard's death.

Even without the database and even with detention officers misdiagnosing her, Braillard should not have died. Fearing the ineptitude of Arpaio's jails, Braillard's friend, Deborah Fouts, faxed a note to the jail at 9:42 p.m. the night before Braillard went into diabetic coma. The note reminded Correctional Health Services, the jail's healthcare agency, that Braillard was diabetic and would die without insulin.

"Inmate Braillard, Booking # P037486 is diabetic and has not had insulin for two days," Fouts wrote in the fax, sent to the sheriff and the jail infirmary.

So what happened? An internal Sheriff's Office report after Braillard's death concluded that the faxed note "slipped through the cracks." And with a quick point of the finger to nobody in particular, Arpaio's detectives wrapped up the investigation.

Physicians and attorneys outside the jail say it's still common for prescriptions to slip through those same cracks that killed Braillard. They say inmates are being denied medication for diabetes, seizures, high blood pressure, asthma, thyroid conditions, and mental health disorders.

Braillard's was a costly slip-up indeed, not only for her, but for the county and its taxpayers. The county now faces a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by attorney Michael Manning, who has collected more than $18 million in settlements and judgments from wrongful deaths in Arpaio's jails.

Like the thousands of other lawsuits against Arpaio, it's impossible to predict the outcome of the suit by Braillard's family. Easier to calculate are the multimillion-dollar suits Arpaio already has lost from deaths that would have been prevented if Arpaio had only listened to expert warnings.

On March 29, 2006, a $9 million court judgment was leveled against Arpaio and the county in the beating and restraint-chair death of inmate Charles Agster III.

Agster, 33 and mentally retarded, was arrested for trespassing on August 6, 2001. Detention officers at the Madison Street Jail pulled a hood over his head and slammed him into a medieval-looking restraint chair. The hood around Agster's throat smothered him to the point that he became brain dead. He was pronounced legally dead three days later on August 9, 2001.

Agster's death should have been prevented. Two years before he was killed, the county had paid $8.25 million to settle the Norberg suffocation suit. Surveillance video shows officers wrestled Scott Norberg into a restraining chair, bound his mouth with a towel, and continued to beat and Taser him after he was handcuffed. Even after the multimillion-dollar payout to Norberg's family, Arpaio kept using the chairs — costing Agster his life and the county another $9 million.

But, really, the restraint chairs should have been discarded before that first payout. Three years before the Norberg settlement, in 1996, detention expert Eugene Miller warned Arpaio, "The best recommendation I can professionally make in respect to the Restraint Chair is to remove it from any use associated with the MCSO jail."

Then in 1997, Amnesty International protested the restraint chairs — an odd move considering that Amnesty usually focuses on prison conditions in Third World countries. The U.S. Department of Justice also took Arpaio to court twice over the chairs and other concerns.

In December 2005, Clint Yarbrough died as Norberg and Agster had died — bound and suffocated in a restraint chair. On April 18, 2007, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved a classified settlement in excess of $1 million to Yarbrough's family.

Norberg, Agster, and Yarbrough were never tried for the charges they were arrested on. They didn't live to see their first court dates.

These legally innocent Maricopa County residents died in Arpaio's jails because the sheriff refused to listen to expert advice.

They're not the only ones. Arpaio ignored warnings from experts about suicidal inmates, as well. Even before the sheriff was warned about understaffing, unorganized records, and restraint chairs, the Department of Justice warned him that his mental wards were unfit for suicidal inmates.

Arpaio's refusal to heed that Justice Department's warning led to at least four more preventable jail deaths.

Months before Thomas Bruce Cooley, 44, was found hanging by his bed sheets in his Madison Street Jail cell, a federal inspector told Arpaio that his psychiatric ward was a tragedy waiting to happen. The 1996 report specifically cautioned that inmates could use "overhanging structures" to hang themselves.

"Given that acutely psychotic patients are housed at Madison jail, psychiatric housing there is dangerous," the DOJ report stated. "Acute psychiatric patients should not be allowed in this unit unless major structural and staffing deficiencies are corrected."

After Cooley's death, at least three of Arpaio's other psychiatric inmates died in the same manner.

In 2003, the Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill requiring that jail healthcare meet national standards.

The Department of Justice has also required Arpaio to meet national jail standards.

But neither government body has taken steps to make sure Arpaio is meeting its standards.

And according to the county's own auditors, he isn't. They say Arpaio's jails fail to meet constitutional and state standards required by law.

In 2003, the county hired Jon Bosch, a corrections consultant with 20 years of experience, to audit Arpaio's jails.

"The current correctional healthcare program at Maricopa County is not in compliance with the basic healthcare rights provided to inmates under the U.S. Constitution," Bosch concluded. He found that Arpaio's jails violate the Eighth Amendment prohibiting "cruel and unusual punishment."

National jail inspectors like Bosch are not bleeding-heart prisoner advocates. They're a jaded breed familiar with corrections law and have spent decades walking the stinking, cramped corridors of jails. Bosch would be out of a job if he threw claims of constitutional violation around casually in the hundreds of jails he audits.

Attempts to interview Bosch, who still works as a corrections auditor, were unsuccessful.

In addition to constitutional violations, Arpaio's jails have also broken Arizona law, according to another county-hired inspector. "The Sheriff is required to verify that healthcare services are [in] compliance with nationally accepted correctional healthcare standards. The current program would not qualify," concluded the 2003 Maricopa County Correctional Health Services Staffing Proposal Draft.

Under Arizona law, Arpaio must obtain certificates showing successful inspections and keep this certification on file.

Despite the statute, when New Times asked to see these certificates, Arpaio spokesman Paul Chagolla said he could not hand them over because the sheriff no longer keeps them. In the next breath, Chagolla assured New Times that the jails do meet the required standards.

Arpaio has paid no more attention to federal mandates.

On December 6, 1999, Arpaio agreed to change a number of jail policies after federal attorneys took the sheriff to court a second time over alleged civil rights abuses.

"We have concluded that unconstitutional conditions exist at the Jails with respect to (1) the use of excessive force against inmates and (2) deliberate indifference to inmates' serious medical needs," stated a federal audit of jail conditions.

The DOJ wrote up a civil rights "settlement" that Arpaio signed.

However, records show that not once in the past seven years have the feds checked to see if Arpaio made the changes he promised.

According to local inspections, as well as complaints from inmates, Arpaio ignored the following terms of the settlement:

• "Inmates assigned to tents will have free access to adequate cooled interior areas."

• "Inmates will have free access to adequate indoor toilet facilities 24 hours per day, and inmates will have adequate access to shower facilities."

• "All Medical Request Forms received will be triaged by [Correctional Health Services] nurses within 24 hours."

• "Inmates may make oral requests for medical attention."

• "When an inmate has not received prescribed medication relating to infectious, chronic, or life-threatening conditions during a regular medication [distribution], the nurse will take appropriate action to ensure that the inmate receives the medication as soon as is feasible."

When the DOJ put Arpaio in a headlock, he cried "uncle" by claiming he had implemented a list of to-dos. But he hasn't, and the Justice Department hasn't made him.

Health code violations in Arpaio's kitchens go beyond the usual jailhouse whining about the quality of chow. The conditions cited by inspectors create a breeding climate for disease. Arpaio's mess halls routinely fail reviews by Maricopa County Environmental Services inspectors — the same inspectors who monitor restaurants and public facilities across the county.

County Attorney Andrew Thomas could literally shut down Arpaio's jails and arrest the sheriff for criminal public health violations.

That's exactly what Thomas did last year to a number of Phoenix restaurant owners whose kitchens had fewer violations than Arpaio's.

During Thomas' botched "Dirty Dining Crackdown," he pursued Tepic Restaurant's owner with criminal charges that resulted in jail time, fines and two years of probation. He also held a press conference to announce the criminal charges against the owners of Ajo Al's. The owners demanded a trial; Thomas lost.

Another targeted restaurant during this campaign had only four violations. Meanwhile, a single one of Arpaio's jail kitchens has netted more than 30 such violations in the past two years.

Here's a glimpse into Arpaio's kitchens based on county inspection reports from Environmental Services:

• Roaches are frequently spotted swarming behind major appliances, scuttling through food-preparation stations and lurking where food is stored. The presence of flies and rodents is routine.

• "Pest control is not properly performed," noted one report dryly.

• Just as prevalent are piles of rodent excrement and nests polluting food areas. More alarming, inspectors repeatedly note the presence of rodents and rodent feces in the water wells.

• Sanitation is hardly better. Inspectors report human waste on shower floors, standing water, a frequent lack of hot water and, again, vermin infestations.

While chain gangs outside the jail garner national publicity for Sheriff Joe, his captive pool of labor is not directed to clean the festering conditions inside the jails. Instead, this cesspool breeds contagious infections that healthcare employees can only hope to contain.

When Arpaio's culture of violence has produced corpses and lawsuits, his staff has destroyed records and faked documents repeatedly.

In fact, Arpaio's first major legal payout of $8.25 million came as the result of obvious records tampering by the Sheriff's Office. Attorney Mike Manning had smoking-gun proof that jail employees fabricated a fake health intake report for Scott Norberg (who died after being beaten by guards and strapped into a restraint chair). Not only that, but half of Norberg's postmortem X-rays were missing, and his name was deleted from the X-ray logbook.

So conclusive was the proof of records destruction that the county opted to pay Norberg's family to drop the case. In other words, the county's legal experts looked at the evidence of records-tampering and decided they would be better off not letting the case get to court.

A further obvious effort to destroy records was proved in March 2006, when Arpaio lost a wrongful-death suit filed by the family of Charles Agster III.

During the Agster court case, jail nurse Betty Lewis testified that jail authorities commanded her to create a series of false documents after Agster's death. Some of Agster's health records also disappeared from the jail, and his falsified booking number didn't exist until the day after he was transferred out of the jail into the hospital.

The Agster case also documented a second nurse who collaborated with sheriff's detention officers to make up fake entries and notes after Agster's death.

Next month, on January 8, 2008, a trial is scheduled in Maricopa Superior Court in a lawsuit filed by deceased inmate Brian Crenshaw's family. The family can't present jail-records evidence because the Sheriff's Office destroyed it — even after the court ordered it to hand over the evidence.

Crenshaw, 40, was legally blind and serving a short sentence in Tent City for shoplifting. After a documented struggle with Arpaio's detention officers, Crenshaw was transferred to solitary confinement at the Madison Street Jail. Six days later, he was found comatose in his cell with a broken neck, ruptured intestines, broken toes, and severe internal injuries.

Only sheriff's guards had contact with Crenshaw in his cell, but Arpaio still maintains that Crenshaw sustained the life-ending injuries when he fell off his four-foot bed.

On September 26, 2006, the court ordered Arpaio's office to produce the jail's videotaped recordings that lawyers suspected would have shown officers beating Crenshaw. Then, on August 31, 2007, nearly a year later, the sheriff's attorney replied that the records had been destroyed — even after multiple requests and court orders to preserve the videotapes.

In November, New Times requested information about antibiotic-resistant MRSA staph infections and inmate-reported spider bites (which national jail experts say are often actually MRSA or other staph infections) among inmates.

Betty Adams, the jail's interim healthcare director, officially answered that the jail tracks spider bites. "Data indicates zero occurrences for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 year-to-date," Adams wrote.

Ironically, Arpaio's spokesmen have said exactly the opposite. On April 23, 2006, Arpaio's publicists told the Arizona Republic, "Inmates routinely complain about spider bites at Tent City."

Somehow, jail healthcare officials say they have recorded "zero" spider bites when asked in the context of deadly and contagious MRSA staph infections. Yet inmates "routinely" complain about spider bites when asked in the context of a puff story highlighting animals in the jail.

Whatever the statistics on spider bites actually are, attorney Kathleen Carey, who caught MRSA while visiting her client in jail, says deputies take precautions to protect themselves.

"In court, you'll often see detention officers wearing gloves. That's because they don't want to catch MRSA from the inmates," Carey says.

Jail healthcare directors reported 41 incidents of "lab confirmed" MRSA infections in the 2006-07 fiscal year. They also reported "zero" spider bites from 2004 to 2007. At the same time, multiple caseworkers, attorneys, and inmates have reported rampant skin infections and spider bites in the jails.

Attorney Carey is living proof that infectious diseases aren't confined behind bars. They spread to the general public from the jail through lawyers, guards, caseworkers, hospitals, courtrooms, and released inmates.

Other counties and the Centers for Disease Control have targeted MRSA in jails, but jail healthcare officials refuse to produce a policy on the flesh-eating bacteria — if they have one.

Interim Correctional Health director Adams told New Times, "CHS does not maintain a database that shows the number or frequency of categories of health concerns."

Adams then canceled a previously scheduled interview with New Times to discuss MRSA and other infectious diseases among inmates. She also didn't produce requested records of MRSA-related deaths in the jails.

Even without official statistics, it isn't hard to confirm that MRSA is killing inmates. Dr. Patrick O'Neill is one of the last doctors to see patients dying of MRSA at the Maricopa Medical Center, where Arpaio's office sends dying inmates.

O'Neill says, "The majority of [MRSA] patients I see will come from jail, either the sheriff's or the prison system's. You also have to realize the ones I see are the most severe cases. There could be a whole other class of patients that our ER guys see, whereas I only see the nearly dying."

Requests to interview county hospital emergency room physician Dr. Frank LoVecchio went unanswered. But there's good reason to believe LoVecchio sees MRSA cases, as well. He just received an $8.9 million federal grant to study MRSA infections.

O'Neil says patients who don't die from organ failure or other MRSA-related causes require amputation or skin excising. "I only typically see patients who are sick enough to require the inpatient hospitalization and treatment. So there are a whole lot more who have the less-complicated skin and skin-structure infections," O'Neil says.

O'Neil wouldn't estimate the actual number of MRSA patients he sees, from the jails or otherwise, but he says, "I do know that it's increasing, and it's something we're very aware of."

Former inmate Jay Carey had an MRSA infection when he entered the jail. Despite telling jail employees about the contagious and deadly infection, he says he was left in the general jail population and didn't see a jail physician until the day before his release.

In a court complaint, Carey also says a jail nurse then told him and his attorney, "We handle these MRSA cases all the time. We know what we're doing."

In all fairness, MRSA thrives in jails and prisons across the country. It's just that other jails are doing something about the problem. For example:

• Los Angeles County Jail authorities identified MRSA as a major problem in 2002, and invited federal and clinical researchers in to help study and contain the MRSA "superbug."

• In October of this year, the Tulsa County Jail in Oklahoma scrubbed its entire 1,700-cell facility with a chemical bacteria killer that targeted MRSA.

• County jails in Kentucky created a MRSA training course so corrections officers can identify MRSA-infected inmates within 24 hours and take them to health officials.

Meanwhile, Maricopa County inmates report skin infections weeks before treatment — if they get medical attention at all. As the infections ooze, they contaminate the overcrowded cells and spread to other inmates.

Recent figures estimate that 70 percent of inmates are pretrial detainees. Meaning many of them will soon walk out of court hearings and back to their lives outside jail.

One inmate tells of getting the infection on her buttock after she sat on a toilet in the jail. Inmates with skin infections interviewed for this story reported a two-to-three-week wait to see a jail physician — even after filling out medical requests to report staph or skin infections.

"The operation of the jail facilities is a constitutional mandate of the sheriff and the delivery of medical services within the jail system falls within that constitutional mandate," Arpaio wrote in an October 7, 2004, memo to the County Board of Supervisors.

This proves that Sheriff Joe Arpaio clearly understands that he is responsible for the conditions in his jails — even though he does little to improve them.

The decrepit health and sanitary conditions within Arpaio's jails breed lawsuits as well as disease.

The cost to taxpayers to finance this culture of cruelty is $41.4 million, and counting.

The $41.4 million is just the edge of the cesspool — a single result of standards that have long made Arpaio's jails the target of investigations from both the federal government and advocates like Amnesty International.

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Inhumanity has a price tag; in Biblical days, it was called selling your own soul, and those of the souls around you. Today, it is called free trade and is excused because of the nature of the incentive, and the benefits anticipated.

There are no short cuts to morality in commerce as it relies upon fair trade alone, by definition.



My mom, my son (1 1/2 at the time) and myself contracted a virulent strain of MRSA. My mom had been living in a bad area of Maricopa County, AZ (Mesa, AZ) where there were tons of former inmates living and MRSA was rampant. Thanks JOE ARPAIO for fueling a drug-resistant flesh-eating bacterial epidemic from inhumane, unsanitary conditions. I'm so mad right now after reading this article. MRSA is highly contagious and doesn't just stay inside a jail. It colonizes in peoples' noses and crawls out all over the person's skin. It's easily passed from one person to another. And, it can take a person's life. My son went to bed with a 'pimple' and the next morning his whole leg was swollen and my poor toddler couldn't walk. He ran a fever and was showing systematic MRSA infection (that's when it becomes potentially deadly). It was horrific. And it took 6 months of sanitizing, baths in water with bleach added, baths using Hibiclens soap, and bactroban in the nares, for us to test negative to being colonized with this dangerous bacteria.

I blame JOE ARAPAIO. That virulent strain that we contracted came from a crime-ridden area of Arizona. And yes, MRSA easily travels from state to state. My mom had it when I moved her from AZ to CA, and we didn't know what it was. Lo and behold, we soon found out. It was horrific.

Arapaio should be arrested. But we know that won't happen. Here's what needs to be done by Maricopa County Sheriff:1) Improve the medical conditions inside the jail including sanitizing and treating all inmates who have MRSA. Treat with: bactroban in the nose, bath soaks for inmates a cup of bleach added to the water, and draining or even lancing as necessary of MRSA wounds. Until these standard medical protocols are in place, MRSA will run rampant in the community (especially Mesa, AZ), (not just jails).... and yes, it spreads from state to state... I moved my mom from AZ and lo and behold, us Californians contracted a virulent form of MRSA from Maricopa County.

2) There's plenty of crime-ridden areas of Maricopa County (like Mesa). Jeez, why doesn't he do his job and instead of working to torment inmates, he should be working to get rid of the drugs in AZ!!! This man is so confused. And then, not only do inmates suffer but the whole country with a virulent MRSA strain from Maricopa County going around.

Cassandra Lone
Cassandra Lone

I don't care what people might think, but if you treat people like animals, they will act like animals. This man should be brought up on federal charges, not celebrated. He should be ignored, not re-elected. My husband voted on this guy alright-with his feet since he is a felon and cannot vote at all.

I believe in rehabilitation. Putting someone in what is effectively a cage for ten to twenty and just letting them out is a recipe in disaster. Where there are programs, both in and outside of prison for cons, you get less second offenders. It's hard for victims to stomach it, but we are not a nation of vengeance, we are a nation of laws. I myself am a rape victim and I say that if programs will help that monster never do the same to another again, I say go for it.

It's not about being liberal or conservative. It's about sense. Common sense and this... clown has none. Utterly none.


Joe Arpiao seems to be a very strict man that only see's black and white. He see's every person who's committed a crime as a hardened criminals and so he throws them in his jails and never looks back. The officers that work there seem to share an even harsher opinion of the inmates in his jails. I completely agree with the saying "If you do the crime you will do the time" but I don't believe that a person that was arrested for driving on a suspended license should be treated the same or even put in the same cell as a person repeatedly committing armed robbery or more serious offenses. I've had first hand experience of how inmates are treated in Joe's jails and it doesn't matter if you are a convicted murderer or awaiting trial for jaywalking, everyone is treated the same. I feel that his tactics are in violation of human and constitutional rights and various mistreatment issues need to be corrected. However, his tactics were very effective on me and after spending some time in his jail, listening to junkies talk about which vein they like to stick their needles in, or having to see homosexuals making out on their bunks; I'll never do anything that could put me back in there again. That is why Joe does it and that is why people support him. Jail isn't supposed to be a happy place. It's a place where people are sent to be punished for breaking the law. I don't support Joe's negligent rule over his jails but I do support the concept of punishment. However, the punishment should fit the crime.


i wanted to say something about being stripped searched by the dike guards in jail i think that bastard should hire women to search the women not dikes who like to look at women asses. and for the zits thats really staff infections yep thats what u get in there.


I'm a Canadian who came across the headline by accident. My only previous knowledge of Arpaio is from the puff pieces on Paul Harvey's newscasts. Reading the article, I was appalled; Sheriff Joe's jail sounds like something out of Castro's Cuba. Sheriff Joe should be sentenced to spend time under the conditions that he imposes on others. I'm not a bleeding-heart liberal, but I believe in due process of law, which seems to be absent in too many cases. As Vox Day says, "You can't have a police state without police."


"If you don't want a staph infection or poor living environment then DON'T BREAK THE LAW."Really? Really? How does a staph infection not qualify as cruel and unusual punishment? Do you believe in the Constitution?This is the sort of thoughtless, heartless person we are dealing with. It's exactly this low instinct that keeps Arpaio in office. How you can lack even this basic level of humanity is beyond me.God I hope you're not a doctor.

Steven Livingston
Steven Livingston

This kind of information makes me ill. It's unfortunate many officers in law enforcement believe they are immune from the laws that you and I are subject to. At this moment in time, I believe that most officers will become corrupt, if not when they first started their careers, at some point down the line. How many officers have lied about the facts, falsly injuring innocent citizens at their expense, just to protect their precious careers. Power corrupts. I apoligize if the following is out of order but I am compelled to state the following: I need information about a Scottsdale police officer

Do you believe that you were treated unfairly in a traffic case involving Officer Rick Royston # 355, of the Scottsdale Police department? I am seeking information about such cases for possible inclusion in a class action suit. If you believe you have relevant information, please send details, including date and citation/case number if possible, to: S. Livingston, P.O.BOX 11401, Scottsdale, AZ 85271-1401. Thank you.

Mary Cogburn
Mary Cogburn

Junior, you complain about Steve's "grammer" when you spelled it wrong!! It is "grammar."You also used the wrong "there", it should have been written "their". You sound ignorant.


Go ahead and bitch, whine and complain about the only man in this state with the guts to treat criminals like criminals. If you don't want a staph infection or poor living enviroment then DON'T BREAK THE LAW. If you do break the law you have nobody to blame but yourself if you find yourself in Joe's jail wearing pink underwear and eating green bologna!

I'm so thankful that we have someone here who is not afraid to do what is right and do it the right way. Hopefully he'll get these illegal aliens out of here and gone for good and the rest of the criminals in our valley.

GO JOE!!!!!

Tricia Tafoya
Tricia Tafoya

I just read the insert about the Staph Infections that people get inside the dirty county jails in Arizona!!! My husband was in custoday from July 2004 until September 2004 and was infected with the Staph infection in his leg. Even though we complained and he made numbers of trips to the nurse while there, The MCSO did nothing to help. So in October of 2004 my husband at his perminate home (ASPC-Yuma) was rushed to Yuma Regional hospital for an ambutation of his left leg!!! Luckly his leg was saved and now 3 years later he still has to go to the hospital to get it drained. He is still in ASPC-Yuma and he still has pain! He got the Staph infection in the Durango jail! I thought that jail was suppose to be closed? I rememeber I went to visit my husband there and layinf on their dirty floor was a dead rat!!! A RAT, that the gaurds were just walking around. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?!?!?!

Marilyn Smith
Marilyn Smith

Why does Phoenix stand for this animal to care for human beings, when he is not one himself. The government continues to be in charge of these jails. This monster, joe Arpaio, should be put in solitary, never to be heard from again. I hope the poor people that are jailed by that pig, continue to sue the pants off of Phoenix, and I do hope Joey will soon meet his Maker. WHAT A DISGUSTING STORY.


While I agree that jail was never meant to be pleasant, denying someone food, water, and a bathroom for 28 hours while threatening them if they go against the Sherrif's office is unconstitutional. Stories like this need to be made public and need to reach a wider audience than the new times. Maybe then this guy will stop being re-elected. Great job New Times for printing stories like this.


Anyone who still supports this lunatic is either as corrupt, immoral and sadistic as he is or has a mental disorder that prevents one from ever admitting they are wrong. And Steve, I hope you go back to Florida. We don't need you here.

Keep up the pressure, New Times. You are 10 times the paper that the Republic is.


steve,you obviously failed grammer,arazona?distric?makeing?that being said,if you do not care about how a prisoner is treated,then you should at least care about the men and women who work in the prison system,who put there lives on the line everyday guarding these people.answer this question.if you beat and mistreat a dog everyday and one day that dog turns on you whose to blame?the same is true for human beings.remember jesus christ was a convict.merry


OK, you want to write this story and let the public know whats going on, but this is jail. This is what people should look forward to if they go to jail. I noticed that you had put he has got the same return rate as the rest of the country, but you didn't put in there that those people don't return to his jail. The issue with the lawsuites needs to stop, these are just greedy lawyers makeing money. If this guy ran the whole country's prison system America would be a better place. People are not affraid to go to prison today, however they would be if this guy ran the place. Quit your crying, if you want to be a man and do the crime then you need to do the time. I think this guy is great, he runs a prison like it should be ran. It's a shame that you even printed this and would comment about the lawsuites, the lawsuites are going to get him outted and when hes gone crime will rise in Arazona. Arazona will be just like Florida. I have been there and noticed the difference, its not like here. I also have the insight to comment on this after growing up in the Miami Edison School Distric, so please don't think I am clueless...

Kate Keeling
Kate Keeling

I was involved in a mishap in 2001 when i was ill with PTSD and traumatic brain injury. A police officer was inappropriately rough with me, when I was having essentially a psychotic event. I unknowingly punched the cop. I was taken to Madison, restrained in the chair and kept from arrainment by lies that i was suicidal. Utimately, I was severely restrained first in the chair then in 4 points with arms overhead, maced in my eyes, given some type of injection without physician evaluation, not given my medications even though my atty was trying to assure I got them--even if they had to drop them off...for 28 solid hours. No food, water or bathroom. And the whole time I was being told blatant lies about their ability to hold me or send me to mental hosp/jail without cause or hearings. Also I was freezing with no covers, force to go bare foot and only wearing a tank top and cotton trousers.

My atty rec no complaints or actions because, "my life would not be worth living if I went against the sheriffs office. Eventually after some manuevering to allow the police to save face and DA to show they were enforcing "protection of the police," all charges were dropped from record. I am chronically afraid of Police and will never trust the legal system again for me or anyone I know.

I am a professional and well educated with no legal, alcohol or drug history...ever.


Well, Belinda I don't think wearing pink underwear and eating stale bologna sandwiches is a violation of your civil rights. Don't tell me they were denied counsel because you know as well as I do that if that happened, you, Cindy Sheehan, Sean Penn, and everyone else on this blog would protest to high hell and camp outside the guy's friggin house. Would I like it if I were arrested for something I didn't do and blah, blah, blah...Don't be stupid. I see it as making up for their pathetic criminal lifestyle when they didn't get caught before. Why don't you put as much energy into defending the rights of us who are the victims of these thugs, and defending my right to protect myself and my property...Remember, in Texas, WE don't call 911....


The constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, yet that is what is happening in our jails. For the record, I am not a liberal, but I do believe in the constitution. Arpiao violated peoples rights by witholding legal counsel. How would you like it if you were accused of a crime you didn't commit, and lived in those conditions until your trial date. My bet is you wouldn't have the same heartless attitude you just showed in your comment. It's because of people like you that these human rights abuses are going on right under our nose.


You pathetic liberals make me laugh. I love stopping by these left wing websites to see the latest criminal/terrorist/illegal immigrant coddling ramblings of you clowns. Sheriff Joe gets reelected because everyone is sick of criminals and liberals. "I hope he dies of a heart attack"...comments like these just show the American people that it is liberals who are full of hate. I don't give a fuck if some scumbag has to eat a year- old bologna sandwich. Good! Jail is supposed to be unpleasant, you morons. Frankly, I care less and less everyday of the rights of criminals and terrorists. Hey, WAKE THE FUCK UP....I'm out.

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

Arpaio had plan to arrest 12,000Sheriff Joe Arpaio sent Napolitano his planAssociated PressDec. 23, 2007 12:00 AM

MARICOPA COUNTY � Sheriff Joe Arpaio had a plan to suspend the constitutional provision against illegal detention and to arrest as many as 12,000 residents of Maricopa County he suspected of being personally disloyal to him to set an example, a newly declassified document says.

Arpaio sent his plan to the Governor on July 7, 2007, less than two weeks after the other candidates for sheriff were announced. There is no evidence that the Governor or any previous Governor approved any part of Arpaio�s proposal to house suspect Arizona residents in tent city.

Arpaio had wanted Napolitano to declare the mass arrests necessary to "protect the county against treason, espionage and sabotage that might not get him re-elected," the New York Times reported Saturday in a story posted on its Web site.

The plan called for the FBI to apprehend all potentially dangerous individuals whose names were on a list Arpaio had been compiling for years.

"The index now contains approximately twelve thousand individuals, of which approximately ninety-seven percent are citizens of Maricopa County," Arpaio wrote.

"In order to make effective these apprehensions, the proclamation suspends the writ of habeas corpus."

Habeas corpus is the right to seek relief from illegal detention and is a basic of U.S. law.

All apprehended individuals eventually would have had the right to a hearing under Arpaio's plan, but hearing boards made from Arpaio�s hand picked Goon Squad would not have been bound by the rules of evidence.

��..Like I said, the story could have been easily about Arpaio

Erika Page
Erika Page

Joe Arpaio has in his office more than 70,000 warrants agains criminals with felony charges like murders, sexual assaulting and more and the worst thing is that he is spending taxpayers money chasing day laborers, taco and corn vendors..Sick of his propaganda...wasting the resources in the real criminals...I cant wait next year elections...


john,best article yet on the inhumane treatment at the hands of sheriff need to send a copy of this to nickle-bags lackey at cnn lou dobbs,as well as every federal agency including the u.s. marshall,s many more people must die before this scumbag is brought to justice?

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

Found this on the Arizona Repulsive today and thought the were talking about Arpaio.

Hoover had plan to arrest 12,000FBI chief sent Truman plan as Korea War beganAssociated PressDec. 23, 2007 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON - Ex-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had a plan to suspend the constitutional provision against illegal detention and to arrest as many as 12,000 Americans he suspected of being disloyal, a newly declassified document says.

Hoover sent his plan to the White House on July 7, 1950, less than two weeks after the Korean War began. There is no evidence that President Truman or any subsequent president approved any part of Hoover's proposal to house suspect Americans in military and federal prisons.

Hoover had wanted Truman to declare the mass arrests necessary to "protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage," the New York Times reported Saturday in a story posted on its Web site.

The plan called for the FBI to apprehend all potentially dangerous individuals whose names were on a list Hoover had been compiling for years.

"The index now contains approximately twelve thousand individuals, of which approximately ninety-seven percent are citizens of the United States," Hoover wrote.

"In order to make effective these apprehensions, the proclamation suspends the writ of habeas corpus."

Habeas corpus is the right to seek relief from illegal detention and is a basic of U.S. law.

All apprehended individuals eventually would have had the right to a hearing under Hoover's plan, but hearing boards would not have been bound by the rules of evidence.

The details of Hoover's plan were among Cold War-era documents related to intelligence issues from 1950-1955. The State Department declassified the documents on Friday.

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

And that is truly the worst and saddest part of it all.You sumed it up perfectly...

>>but it doesn't matter: idiot Maricopa County voters will reelect Arpaio over the illegal alien issue.Absolutely disgusting.Comment by sucks � December 22, 2007 @ 09:07PM


The New Times is fighting the good fight--has been for years--but it doesn't matter: idiot Maricopa County voters will reelect Arpaio over the illegal alien issue.

Absolutely disgusting.


I know of a case where an old man who was diabetic was allowed to die without medical care. The other inmates asked the staff for help and got nothing. The man was in a wheel chair when he was booked due to his illness, so they knew of his problems. I would tell you where I work, but I would be fired. You can guess.

Donna Downing
Donna Downing

In my perfect world the sheriff will be tried, convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in his own jail and made to face the wrath of victims and their families. He will be paid $1.00/hr. for working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week ridding the facility of vermin with industrial-strength disinfectants without protective clothing. All his earnings will be returned to a taxpayer reimbursement fund. Additionally, he will wear pink tutus in public, eat cockroach-infested bologna sandwiches, be bitten by a spider and left to languish without medical attention.

This article needs to be headlined throughout all print and electronic media. Maricopa County voters should reexamine their value system.

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

Yes, this is what happens in a Police State run by Nazi's.....and they continue to get away with it all.

>>Do Phoenix authorities, taking cues from Arpaio, believe they can do as they please to whomever they target, with nary a care for legal consequences?

Dr. Paul Vincent Zecchino
Dr. Paul Vincent Zecchino

Welcome to dark side of law enforcement. Kudos to The Phoenix for boldly standing up to Judicial Terrorism.

Isn't Phoenix the locale in which Betsy Ann Gotbaum was killed by airport safety goons? To make it all right, officals smeared her good name and made it her fault. Do Phoenix authorities, taking cues from Arpaio, believe they can do as they please to whomever they target, with nary a care for legal consequences?

The Phoenix victory over and revelations regarding Arpaio's costly reign of Judicial Terrorism will hopefully be a revelation to those who rest their heads upon the altar of Law 'n Order.

Dr. Paul Vincent Zecchino Manasota Key, Florida 22 December, 2007

C.T. Black
C.T. Black

I am native of Phoenix. I've followed New Times for over a decade. I know more about Joe Arpaio's inept, incompetent, ignorant, inexcusable ass than I ever wanted to. But I have no choice. This guy whores himself out to the local channels anytime he feels he's relevant to ANY thing. This time it's illegal aliens. He's constantly in our faces. Constantly. The people of Maricopa County are fed up with this poor excuse for a man. The waste of skin and bones...this waste of life. Do you want to know why he keeps getting re-elected? Glad you asked: polls for local elections are usually held from morning to just a few hours after dinner. The only people who have the energy and the interest to go to the polls are usually the retired and the snow-bird/half-a-years. The people who actually still work for a living, are either too tired..or get home too late, or go to work around the start time of the polls can NOT. And most jobs simply REFUSE to allow anyone to miss time to vote. I think that's part of the conspiracy against legally registered voters. American citizens. Arizonans. You KNOW who's getting to the polls now. Everybody I know is sick of this pompous, cruel, criminally-insane asshole. I say...this time around, if you're REALLY serious about voting his sorry ass out of office. Make Election Day a sick day. And get your ass in that booth. I know I'm going to. Talk without action, is simply inaction. I'M sick of whining about conditions in my county, city, and state. I've made plans to DO something about it. I suggest..strongly...everybody else attempt to do the same.


Although not in line with this piece, here's a great story...

I got a DUI in 2004 in West Mesa Justice Court. Not bad...a .10 on a Breathalyzer, so it's very defendable. Anyhow, the case lumbered thru the Justice court system until November of 2007, at which time, the case was "dropped" and the County Attorney, thru a motion declared that they "were refiling case as a felony". This is 3 weeks after I signed onto the "Recall Thomas and Arpaio" petition that has been circulating. So now I get to go to court, charged with a felony, for a case that's the State couldnt prove in Justice court as a misdemeanor in the first place. What country is this?? Turkey??!!

Laine Lawless
Laine Lawless

I'd heard many negative things about Arpaio for years, and what you've exposed, in detail, in truly shocking. I know the New Times has a hard-on for Arpaio, but if you can document every thing in the article, it's morally reprehensible for Arpaio to run this kind of a jail, and just plain stupid management. It seems no one in this country cares about who's in jail until it's someone they know or themselves. The attitude is, "they're all garbage, they're getting what they deserve!" when you have rightly pointed out that the vast majority of them are awaiting trial for ALLEGED crimes. Someone who has been deprived of their freedom is legally entitled to a safe and healthy environment. The out-of-control pest problems, coupled with lack of proper health care and the rampage of MRSA should be enough to SHUT MC jails down. I've thought for years that Joe's "tent city" along with the conditions in it, constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and I've wondered if his recidivism rate was any better than the norm. Now I know my suspicions were correct. I had a friend who was falsely arrested in Tucson and spent a few days in jail without his medication. He's an epileptic, and had several seizures. Boy, will he have a juicy lawsuit (not that the PD chief there cares, but he survived)! Any viable opponent who can run against Joe and who can run the jails properly without incurring justifiable lawsuits will get my vote in the next election.

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

Welcome to the County of idiots, old fucks, and those that have their heads firmly planted up their asses.

>>How does this fuckstick Arpaio get re-elected every year? Are the people of Phoenix that vote for this pig of a human being so myopic and puritan that they can't see that they're being taken for a ride?

kirk nelson
kirk nelson

And to think, there are those who think this clown of a sheriff is actually doing a good job. HELL NO. Once again this are individuals who are still awaiting trial to determine their guilt or innocense. Yet some have been given a premature death penalty. Also keep in mind there are some who are incarcerated lost in this terrible sentence. My 19 yr old step daughter was accused of the crime of dining and dashing, not paying her Denny's bill. A terrible decision, but not one that should kept her incarcerated for two weeks without a court date. After placing many calls, I was finally able to get one of the jail staffersd to admit that a mistake was made and that should have been released after 72 hours. their response was Oops, "Somebody" dropped the ball. I say its time we drop Joe and Candy Andy.


How does this fuckstick Arpaio get re-elected every year? Are the people of Phoenix that vote for this pig of a human being so myopic and puritan that they can't see that they're being taken for a ride? Over $41 million in lawsuits and the time and money that this fuck wastes trying to make his image look squeaky clean should be enough alone to get him thrown out of office. Jesus H. Christ Phoenix! Wake the fuck up!!!


As a medical professional this story is very disheartening. I believe in punishing crimanals but I can in NO way condone the withholding of medical treatment. Sheriff Joe is arrogant and needs to be put out of the business of cruelty. These people are exactly that- PEOPLE! Look at the uproar caused by the death of the police dog Bandit(?) If we are willing to go to hell and back to protect our animals shouldnt we extend that same outrage to humans as well? What some people seem to forget is that while they are criminals they are still parents,brothers, sisters, children, etc. This is inhumane. If we were to hear about these conditions somewhere else we would act immediately to end the cruelty. Not to mention that we are in effect participants of this cruelty, unwilling or not, because our TAXES fund this abuse. We have so many laws relating to abuse of patients yet this has been allowed to continue. This is WRONG! What happened to patients rights? Or for that matter constitutional rights? I wonder how Old Joe would feel if he or one of his family members contracted MRSA due to the poor conditions of his jail. I wonder how self-righteous he would be then? We as a people need to step up and say NO MORE ABUSE! After all these preventable illnesses/injuries/deaths Joe should be behind those bars! The man is on a power trip from hell. What can we do to put this man out of office?


i am absolutely mortified by the stories that i read in this article and the inhuman treatment of people who weren't even convicted of felonies. anyone who supports the sheriff joke is supporting this gross treatment. even though some of the inmates do not deserve things like tv, a gym, etc, they also do not deserve to be treated this way if they haven't even been convicted of things like murder or of the sorts. i cannot believe this.


Joe is a joke, plain and simple. Any normal person would be locked up for years for the crimes that he's comitted. It's sad to see him get away with the pain that he has caused so many people. Everyone needs to vote and take this guy out of office so that this shit stops happening. Everyone complains but we're the only ones that can change it.

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

What does that have to do with the story that was written ?Why is that some people can't see the forest through the tree's ?

The story is not about Immigration or illegal�s. It's about Bozo Joke's continuing abuse of power, inhumanity and what he's cost and costing Maricopa County Tax payers.

I know it might be hard for you, but try and focus on the subject and not divert from the facts being reported.

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

>>These ilegals request for amnesty are totally racist


These ilegals request for amnesty are totally racist.

1. Our immigration law has a base line of family reunification with roughly proportional number of places for Americans of the various races and ethnic backgrounds.

2. Amnesty would be approximately 90% Hispanic.

3. Amnesty would give a HUGE PREFERENCE to Hispanics over other Americans with respect to family reunification and bringing in their race and ethnic group. This is DISCRIMINATION. Americans are entitled to EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW.

4. Amnesty would give a HUGE PREFERENCE ot Hispanics over other Americans with respect to the ability to take advantage of the amnesty for their family and ethnic group, as Mexico is next door. Other Americans have to get their family here on expensive flights, somehow escape through the airport etc - much more difficult. And even Latinos who are not Mexico have trouble getting in as they get stopped at the Mexican border. THIS IS DISCRIMINATION. Americans are entitled to EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW.

5. Amnesty would give a HUGE PREFERENCE to Hispanics over other Americans / LEGAL IMMIGRANTS as Legal Immigrants have to meet much more difficult conditions, ie medical, learn USA history, background check, and presumably no felony. Any illegal in the USA working is probably guilty of ID theft, a felony and should never be admitted to the USA.. This is DISCRIMINATION. Americans are entitled to EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW.

6. Politicians want it in order to increase their voting block, which is RACIST AND violates the EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW CLAUSE.


Some one should sue the illegals and their supporters and their countries for the 25 billion a year they are costing the USA taxpayer.


Wrong, just wrong.

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

When you read this story, I would imagine anyone with an ounce of morals, ethic's or compassion would be sick to their stomach. I know I am.

It just amazes me that this ASSHOLE Arapio continues to get away with this.

Maricopa County and Arizona Policticans in general suck. How do they live with themselves knowing this is going on and do nothing to stop such torture and abuse.

I hope they all rot in hell.

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

Unbelievable.Why can't Bozo Joke Arpaio just have a heart attack and die.It's what he deserves.


I just happen to stumble upon hthese readings about Joe Arpiao and all that he has done and I can't even phantom the idea of making any suggestions concerning him and how he could do his job better. It is obvious to me that this man is to a total pyschopath. he should not even be in the postion that he is in. His is inhuman and incapable of remorse or compassion for anyone other than himself. I hope that by now, he has been removed and prosecuted. He is a disgrace to the human race.


@Natediddy  I agree with you.  I don't think they should be subjected to those staph infections and that kind of thing.  I would be amazed they haven't received sympathetic help by now from some organization, regarding their civil rights and etc.  The pink, stale bread (not moldy), only books like english, grammar and that kind of thing.  No legal crap.  Just things that help them from day to day.   Play Silly Songs with Larry, The wheels on the bus go round and round and etc....  :)  The pink everything is an excellent idea.  It's hard to make those look too studley.  If people could defend themselves, and the system had an actual punishment that worked, our jails and prisions wouldn't be filled to the brim.  It often begins at home.  And we're not allowed to talk mean or to discipline the kids.  So then what?  Exactly what we have.  A total lack of respect for anyone or anything, and not one ounce of regret, because there are no real consequences.  And most lack empathy.  That's scary.  I've lived in AK and now TX.  I appreciate that it's more old fashioned and you're able to adequately discipline your own children.  Respect is big here in TX.  It's not like it was when I lived in Oregon.  That was horrible.  They are spoiled kids for sure.  Many of them anyway.  I'm generalizing, for sure.  But it's the concepts.  They should have only the very basics in jail.  But no disease or true maltreatment.  I would love to design one and implement a good system.  One I wouldn't mind my own kids having to endure, but nothing like many of the jails or prisons now.  The prisons especially.  

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