Sheriff Joe Arpaio was unseated after 24 years in office by Paul Penzone. Arpaio became known for his tough on crime policies, his aggressive treatment towards immigrants and his notorious Tent City, all of which ended up costing Phoenix millions of dollars in taxpayer money.
Why Is Tent City Closing?
One of Penzone’s first orders of business has been to schedule the closure of Tent City. According to Penzone, it will take up to 60 days to move at least half of Tent City’s population indoors and could take several additional months to address inmates who spent only some of their prison term in the Tent City Jail. This month, 350 inmates remain in the heat.
By closing Tent City, Penzone will save an estimated $4.5 million. The closing will also help other jails by dispersing Tent City’s personnel to places that are currently understaffed.
What Will Happen After Tent City Shuts Down?
The majority of inmates were convicted of low-level misdemeanors, particularly DUI offenses. The greatest irony of tent city discovered by Penzone’s committee reflects a need for larger reforms: Inmates told interviewers that they preferred the open-air facility to cramped indoor conditions. Ultimately, the shutdown is as symbolic as Tent City itself. We hope this first step represents a larger push by law enforcement and the courts to take civil rights in Maricopa County far more seriously than Penzone’s predecessor.
If you need legal advice or representation in the Phoenix area, be sure to contact us at Pinnacle Law today.