During a recent interview with Breitbart News, Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio touched on several ways he is able to inject patriotic elements into the extensive jail system he oversees.
One way Maricopa County inmates are compelled to honor America under the tough sheriff’s command is hanging on the wall of every cell. The American flag is displayed prominently everywhere inmates are housed, he explained, adding that “if anybody tinkers or messes around” with the banner, he or she will be placed on a diet of bread and water.
He also plays God Bless America and The Star-Spangled Banner throughout the jail, encouraging inmates to sing along.
Arpaio has been both criticized and praised for the strict manner in which inmates are treated while in his agency’s custody. There are a few perks, however, for veterans. During the interview, which took place the same week as Flag Day, Arpaio shared a recent example.
“Since many people don’t remember what Flag Day is all about,” he said, “—it’s also the anniversary of the U.S. Army – I decided to spend part of the day at the jail and talk to all the former veterans. Also, a few months ago I decided to put all inmates on a vegetarian diet – no more meat – however, for veterans, on Flag Day, I did give them hot dogs and beans and corn and that type of thing.”
In honor of their sacrifice, Arpaio said he also houses veterans together while in his jail system.
“We have 180 inmates that are veterans,” he said, “so I placed the veterans in their own area. They painted all the branches of the services on the walls – red, white and blue.”
Arpaio noted that this ward has none of the assaults and other behavior issues seen throughout the rest of the jail. He suggested there is likely a fair amount of self-policing taking place within this community.
“My theory,” he said, “is we’ve had some sergeants there and they kind of, in their own way, helped me because they can supervise the other inmates that were privates, et cetera.”
Should patriotism be encouraged in America’s penal system? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth