The individual that was denied medical treatment for a perforated ulcer was in jail for driving on a suspended license. He didn't kill anyone, rape anyone or commit a heinous crime..he was stupid. Felony stupid as my dad would call it. My father was a federal prison officer. He rose to the rank of Assistant Warden at San Diego's Federal Prison...but I digress. This is about the asshat known as Joe Arpaio, head fuckwad of the Maricopa County jails in AZ. Some inmates live in tents in Maricopa county. That wouldn't be too bad here in certain areas of Cali, say San Diego, where the median temperature is in the 70's most of the year. In AZ, the temperatures are over 100 degrees all summer....ALL SUMMER. At night, the temperatures barely dip below 100 degrees. The "tent city" is also a violation of state fire laws..but they still exist. Over 2,000 inmates are living in these tents with exposed wires and a host of serious code violations which make them legally uninhabitable. The inmates housed in these tents are typically in jail for driving on suspended license's and DUI's..not violent crimes. To read more about the deplorable conditions that the state of AZ allows in Sheriff Joe's tent city the link is here and a CNN article here.
To return to the inmate denied medical attention, a jury awarded Tim Griffin $1.5 million dollars in 1999 for his pain and suffering while in the care of Sheriff Joe. The perforated ulcer required several surgeries to repair, when simple medical attention while in jail would of sufficed.
The county settled a wrongful-death suit filed by the family of Scott Norberg for $8.5 million. He died, reportedly of asphyxiation, as he struggled with prison guards in 1996. It took three years to settle this case. It only took a matter of minutes for Scott to die. The Sheriff and the county did not admit guilt, stating they accepted a settlement, to quote from this article in the PhoenixNewTimes: "Paul Holloway, the county's attorney, says the public shouldn't read anything into the large dollar amount. "There are lots of reasons why insurance companies settle cases. Timing is important--where you are in the litigation, where you're going to go, what work is ahead of you," he says."
Excuse me...but I call bullshit here Paul. I can not think of any reason to agree to over $8 Million bucks to make a case go away dude...not one fucking reason. Maricopa county isn't the land of the rich by any stretch of the imagination, they do have insurance companies to cover all the lawsuits brought about by Sheriff Joe's inhuman conditions though..don't they?
Another of Sheriff Joes minions, the jail psychiatrist, made a slight error in judgement. This error allowed a shackled and handcuffed inmate to fashion a noose out of his PINK socks and hang himself less than a half hour after the doctor made the determination that the inmate was of no danger to himself or others. The inmate had been on suicide watch. His family knew he was suicidal, they told the jail officers but this jackass of a shrink still said he was well enough to enter the general population. According to this article: "Cervantes was one of six prisoners who committed suicide in the county in 2002, according to statistics provided by the County Attorney's Office. Seventeen jail inmates have killed themselves in custody since then." The article was written in January of 2005. I don't have the stomach to look up any current stats that come up to the present on suicides in the Maricopa county jails. But I think you, my dear reader, get my point. People discuss and debate the pink undergarments the prisoners are forced to wear. I say, shut the fuck up and look at the real problems. Do not buy into the bullshit of the pink underwear, its a ruse designed to detract from the real issues in Maricopa county's jails. It gets Joe Arpaio the media attention he craves. He is an attention whore among other things.
Sheriff Joe's disregard for federal rulings against him and his jail system fosters an attitude among his employees, namely the prison guards, of taunting, bullying, beating and ultimately killing in some instances, the inmates of the Maricopa jails. Here is another story of death at the hands of Maricopa prison guards that cost the county $9 Million in a Federal appeals court jury award for wrongful death in March of this year. This inmate was mentally retarded. A quote from the article that will turn your stomach perhaps: "Arpaio, who testified in the trial that he sets the "tone" for how detention officers are to do their jobs, rewarded the officers involved in the Agster incident with promotions, Manning said."
As I said earlier in the post, I wrote this because another blogger was debating the pink underwear worn by inmates on her blog. All the shit that Sheriff Joe has pulled came rushing back into my head. As a former resident of AZ I read and heard about Sheriff Joe's atrocities on a regular basis. I had to get this shit out of my head and so I posted about it. You, my dear reader, might not read this whole post...but at least it is out of my head now..I am thankful for that. Maybe I can go to sleep now.