After almost 24 years since it was first founded by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, tent city will be closed down today by the new Sherriff who defeated Arpaio last November in the election, a move which stunned many here in Maricopa County.
Newly elected Sheriff Paul Penzone announced yesterday that his office would close down the globally known and often controversial Tent City detention facility. He said “Starting today, the circus ends, and the tents come down,”
Penzone cited safety as playing a large part in his decision to close down the now infamous tents that housed inmates in pink pajamas and fed them brown bag lunches.
According to Penzone “For those who are concerned, let me be as crystal clear as I can be. I have five other detention centers with plenty of space,” he said. “We have the room.”
The current inmates housed there will take at least 45-60 days to move to other detention facilities and will save the MCSO about $4.5 million each year.
Arpaio touted the prison as being a large deterrent for crime, however, no statistical data shows that it prevented or even lowered crime rates across the crime spectrum. In fact, a recent inmate survey showed they actually preferred living there over more traditional confinement facilities.
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