DeLong says the show made him physically ill.

"I nearly got killed in that damned bathroom after those jerks jumped me," he tells New Times. "Just because Joe Arpaio didn't put security cameras in so they don't have to do anything when whippings happen. You might think that they would have learned a lesson in jail security and inmate safety from what happened to me. But Arpaio doesn't give a damn about a nobody like me losing an eye."


DeLong lost his eye six days after he was attacked in September 2004.
DeLong lost his eye six days after he was attacked in September 2004.
DeLong and his longtime companion, Cindy Dubois
DeLong and his longtime companion, Cindy Dubois

In April, Joe Arpaio announced that jail officials were "locking down" the third floor of downtown Phoenix's Fourth Avenue Jail.

The sheriff told reporters that Mexican Mafia inmates were causing an excessive number of brawls and other mayhem, placing detention officers at increased risk.

The inmates' endgame, according to Arpaio, was to take over "his" jail.

"What do they have to lose?" the sheriff said. "Nothing other than to make a name for themselves and be a hero when they go to prison and say, 'We took care of that jail, the sheriff, and his officers.'"

Arpaio said his lockdown was designed to "send a message not only to this group of mafia, but to everybody in the jail. You will not run our jail system."

The irony of Arpaio's comments did not escape Alan DeLong, who learned firsthand that the sheriff does not have a problem allowing inmate "leaders" to dispense so-called jailhouse justice.

No doubt, many jails and prisons — and not just Joe Arpaio's highly controversial facilities — are violent places where inmates routinely fight like mad dogs and sometimes maim and kill each other.

Hundreds of detention officers suffer various levels of assault around the nation every year. Some are seriously hurt, and occasionally an officer is killed in the line of duty.

Jails aren't kindly places, aren't supposed to be.

But Joe Arpaio's jails have cost inmates their lives and county taxpayers multi-millions of dollars in litigation costs, adverse jury verdicts, and out-of-court settlements. (New Times published a story in late 2007, "Inhumanity Has a Price," stating that county taxpayers at that point had been on the hook for $41.4 million in lawsuit payouts during Arpaio's reign. That figure has climbed to more than $50 million, according to county sources.)

The U.S. Department of Justice investigated the Maricopa County jail system in an ill-fated investigation that began in 1995 and ended tepidly after then-Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano made political book with Arpaio ("Napolitano's Sorry Service in Arizona," November 27, 2008).

Still, the feds did find a "pattern of excessive force" by Arpaio's detention officers against inmates in jails both grossly overcrowded and understaffed.

More akin to what happened to Alan DeLong than excessive force by officers was the case of Jeremy Flanders, a jail trusty nearly beaten to death by fellow inmates at Tent City in 1996.

A Maricopa County jury later awarded Flanders $440,532 in actual damages and $195,000 in punitive damages.

The judge in this case wrote, "The history of violence, the overcrowding, the abundance of weaponry, the lack of supervision, and the absence of necessary security measures supports the jury's findings of deliberate indifference to inmate safety."

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Flanders verdict in an opinion that was worded just as strongly.

Joel Robbins, a Phoenix attorney who is representing DeLong in an ongoing lawsuit against Sheriff Arpaio, also represented Flanders.

Arpaio's lawyers deny wrongdoing, writing that the sheriff "has consistently denied that he was negligent, much less grossly negligent. An assault by one inmate on another, because of a mistaken identity, does not equal gross negligence. Additionally, inmate-on-inmate assaults can and do occur in every correctional institution."

Correct, on the latter point.

But one of Arpaio's detention officers, James Sawyer, told the Discovery Channel team something on camera that altered the playing field in the DeLong civil case.

"When inmates first arrive to the facilities," Sawyer said, "you'll have these racially designated leaders, if you will, that will make up their own rules.

"The inmates do get brought around — they get shown what to do, where they can go. That's how [inmate leaders] maintain their interior social dynamics. These rules are not authorized by the county, and the inmates will follow these rules, or they'll be beaten up in the bathroom."

Attorney Robbins ran with that, noting in legal papers, "Officer Sawyer's comment suggests that "rather than being a case of [simple] negligence, [it] supports a conscious decision to permit the racial gangs to inflict injuries to enforce gang rules within the jail."

A trial date is scheduled for later this year.

"I knew in 2004 how crazy things were inside that place," Alan DeLong says. "Now I know a whole lot more."

He concedes that it was his fault that he landed in Durango for drinking and driving.

But he can't reconcile the loss of his eye with his belief that the unprovoked attack could have been prevented by basic security measures.

"I didn't have a life sentence coming to me for a DUI," DeLong says. "But I kind of got one anyway."

That he has to stick a glass eye into his empty right socket every day before work constantly reminds DeLong of 2004, as do the throbbing headaches, the depression, and other emotional upheavals.

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31 comments
Guest
Guest

Restraint of "official" goverment sanctioned (by action or inaction) violence is a fundamentally conservative and revolutionary concept which way a key to the American Revolution -- it is not a "liberal" thing.

TiredOfMorons
TiredOfMorons

Nice myopic viewpoint. Is everything that simple and black & white in your world? Because here in the real world, not everything works that way.

guest
guest

The only reason they took the cameras out was so you wouldn't see the Constitution being used for toilet paper.

Mary
Mary

SORRY, I'm with the SHERIFF! You should have known what to expect before you acted on the implulse that put you in prison!

Cliffk_ii
Cliffk_ii

crisis??? Really??? They all left and went to Texas. Got anything else you want to scare us with??

TimPinto
TimPinto

Yeah, on the "webb" you say? Sure it's not the "web?" You sympathizers sure are an intelligent lot, aren't you?

Tom
Tom

When Yahoo gets a good liberal propaganda piece they leave it up for weeks. I wonder how long this one will be here.

Shawn
Shawn

News Times turn blind eye to reporting truth of illegal alien crisis in Az.

Shawnusa
Shawnusa

News Times Left Wing lunatics turn blind eye at reporting facts on illegal aliens. The journos have SOLD OUT!

BJ
BJ

Obama just signed an executive order keeping the Fast and Furious documents away from Congress,I guess this will make everyone at the New Times jump for joy !!

Burris Travis
Burris Travis

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Burris Travis
Burris Travis

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big camper
big camper

Tell me yahoo and new times, are you in each others pocket? I see the same 2 stories on Phoenix news now for more than a week! Who cares? Just because you want to run a sting on MCCS, why do yahoo readers have to see the same old news stories for weeks at a time. Move on, get a life!

Jjbooboo222
Jjbooboo222

Dude.. you do realize these are American Born people.. Not all Latinos are from Mexico.. Typical Racist trash..

Rhonda Mauk
Rhonda Mauk

He keeps getting voted in, because this is what the majority of Az wants!

Stinson
Stinson

"Arpio gets voted in everytime, because most ppl think just like me" Yeah, and they spell like you too, which explains why the average IQ level of people in this state has landed us in a crisis due to horrible leadership and bad elected officials.

JeanRayburn
JeanRayburn

The sheer stupidity of your multiple comments on this article have made it abundantly clear that you're not to be taken seriously.

Rhonda Mauk
Rhonda Mauk

No, I wouldn't. I raised four sons in west phx, unfortunatley, and I new I did a good job teaching them right from wrong and they new, if you get in trouble, then you pay the price, I'll be waiting when you get out, I was lucky, only one was ever in trouble, live by the sword die by the sword, I didn't change my mind then and I don't now, they are all good men today, your just soft and your not part of the solution, your part of the prob. Arpio gets voted in everytime, because most ppl think just like me

Rhonda Mauk
Rhonda Mauk

He gets voted in because the majority of Az. like the job he does!!! Who cares how old he is if he's doing the job the ppl want him to do

PaulRubinsFavoriteDick
PaulRubinsFavoriteDick

Your mistaken Jose.. Its the Chicanos, Mexican Mafia, douchebags who will be doing the fu-kin to you as thier little bitch while you scream for Joe and his Deputies to come save your pathetic ass. Pendejo

azbee
azbee

The jail system here sucks, dui"s are not a killing type, they just made a mistake in there life they still have rights and should be treatred according not like a bunch of commom crimmials those who have commented must be part of the problem, most of the officers are a bunch of jerks making a name for themselves, the system needs to change we are not doing any favors for those being put in jail, instead we should be rehabing them and putting them on the right tract, arizona needs to wise up and revamp there system.

PaulRubinsucksDick
PaulRubinsucksDick

Paul Rubin writes trash filled hyperbolic crap targeted to the loyal fans of this liberal advertising rag. It's not Joe A's fault that the prisons are filled with scum. What exactly did Paul Rubin think that he would find in prison; his relatives? Paul should get off his knees and quit sucking the liberal dick. Grow up you fucking pansy.

Jmac185085
Jmac185085

Why would a criminal feel they have a right to privacy?

Guest
Guest

I really don't get it... If Detention Officers intervene, and stop the shitheads from beating someone down, then they get their mothers go to on local news and wail about how the mean detention officers hurt her poor baby! And they're the bad guys, for stepping in and STOPPING violence.

alehound
alehound

This article saddens me.....

Coz
Coz

Judging from the latest posts, obviously kindergarten is out for the summer.

MrEthiopian
MrEthiopian

Mary your an insensitive bitch, that deserves a bit of payback karma herself. Allen was in prison for a repeat DWI conviction, not a molestation, rape, robbery or any other violent offense, why should a man who has no history of violence be put in a maximum security general population? The state has a responsibility to adequately protect its inmate population, just because people are in jail does not mean the state can mistreat them. This should be more than evident to anyone in the state, given that sheriff Joe has cost the tax payers an additional 50 million dollars in lawsuits judgements, that would never had incurred if Joe was doing his job and standard adequate protection was given like in another state penal system. Your stupid mentality will continue to cost the tax payers of this state potentially hundreds of millions of dollars should the inmates create a multiple party suite.

Conservative American
Conservative American

Most inmates in Arpaio's jails haven't been convicted of anything - they are awaiting trial. If you believe in America, if you love the Constitution, then you must - you simply must - embrace the American right to the presumption of innocence. If you don't, then you are no American. Leave, leave now. We don't need you.

Catcaio
Catcaio

The women's jail at Estrella is no better. When push comes to shove, you take your dirty bed sheet and tie it around your neck and put the other end in the toilet and flush it and just hooe for the best.

 
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