My experience in sheriff Joe Arpaio's...

My experience in sheriff Joe Arpaio's tent jail

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

Crassus

United States

#1 Aug 28, 2017
I was born in Mexico, grew up in Tijuana, and moved to Arizona when I was 14. I went to high school in a small town called Holbrook, then went to Phoenix to go to Arizona State University. By that time, roughly 2012, Joe Arpaio’s vicious anti-Latino tactics had already raised racial tensions in Maricopa County, where he was sheriff.

I heard all about Arpaio’s crusades firsthand. By 2014, I was working as a court interpreter for Maricopa County. Every day, I would interpret for Spanish-speaking people who had been arrested by Arpaio in the desert, trying to come to the United States to work. Arpaio’s men would arrest them and put them in detention facilities for months, holding them until they took a plea agreement — so he could get a conviction for them on the record. That way, if they ever tried to return to the U.S., they would be placed in federal prison.

That same year, I got into a bad relationship and I drove while drunk. I was arrested, and it took the county an entire year to prosecute me. I thought it was the worst year of my life, until I was convicted and sent to one of Arpaio’s jails.

The minute I turned myself in to go to jail, they took me to the Fourth Avenue jail, the county’s hub for all arrests. There, they put me through something called “the Matrix”: being moved from one cell to another for about 12 continuous hours. It was extremely cold, and all I was allowed to wear underneath the striped uniform I was given was underwear and flip-flops. Guards threw me a bag with old bread, an orange and milk; nothing else was offered, and sleeping was nearly impossible. I laid for hours on cold concrete, only to be hustled abruptly to another cell, and then another. Finally, they put me in chains and moved me to another jail by bus.

During the sweltering summer, the temperature could reach 115 or 120 degrees. I was in the tents when we hit 120. It was impossible to stay cool in the oppressive heat. Everyone would strip down to their underwear. There was no cold water, only water from vending machines; and eventually, the machines would run out. People would faint; some had heatstroke. That summer, ambulances came about three times. One man died in his bed.

But the winter was even worse. During the winter, there were no heaters. Most jackets and heavily insulated pants weren’t allowed; they don’t want you to be comfortable.

When the temperatures dropped, we were forced to come up with makeshift ways to keep ourselves warm. The showers were kept scalding hot during both summer and winter. We hated to shower, but we would fill our empty water bottles up with the nearly boiling water and put the bottles between our blankets when it was freezing outside. We also would save the plastic bags we found when we cleaned up the jail yard and wrap our feet with them, tucking hot water bottles inside to keep our feet warm while we slept.

Still, it was freezing, achingly cold. I was in so much pain that winter that now, when I’m cold, it reminds me of being there.

It’s hard to recall memories of that year. When I heard Friday that President Donald Trump had decided to pardon Arpaio, I was disgusted, dispirited and disappointed in the American political system.
http://www.startribune.com/my-experience-in-s...
Crassus

United States

#2 Aug 28, 2017
Crassus wrote:
I was born in Mexico, grew up in Tijuana, and moved to Arizona when I was 14. I went to high school in a small town called Holbrook, then went to Phoenix to go to Arizona State University. By that time, roughly 2012, Joe Arpaio’s vicious anti-Latino tactics had already raised racial tensions in Maricopa County, where he was sheriff.

I heard all about Arpaio’s crusades firsthand. By 2014, I was working as a court interpreter for Maricopa County. Every day, I would interpret for Spanish-speaking people who had been arrested by Arpaio in the desert, trying to come to the United States to work. Arpaio’s men would arrest them and put them in detention facilities for months, holding them until they took a plea agreement — so he could get a conviction for them on the record. That way, if they ever tried to return to the U.S., they would be placed in federal prison.

That same year, I got into a bad relationship and I drove while drunk. I was arrested, and it took the county an entire year to prosecute me. I thought it was the worst year of my life, until I was convicted and sent to one of Arpaio’s jails.

The minute I turned myself in to go to jail, they took me to the Fourth Avenue jail, the county’s hub for all arrests. There, they put me through something called “the Matrix”: being moved from one cell to another for about 12 continuous hours. It was extremely cold, and all I was allowed to wear underneath the striped uniform I was given was underwear and flip-flops. Guards threw me a bag with old bread, an orange and milk; nothing else was offered, and sleeping was nearly impossible. I laid for hours on cold concrete, only to be hustled abruptly to another cell, and then another. Finally, they put me in chains and moved me to another jail by bus.

During the sweltering summer, the temperature could reach 115 or 120 degrees. I was in the tents when we hit 120. It was impossible to stay cool in the oppressive heat. Everyone would strip down to their underwear. There was no cold water, only water from vending machines; and eventually, the machines would run out. People would faint; some had heatstroke. That summer, ambulances came about three times. One man died in his bed.

But the winter was even worse. During the winter, there were no heaters. Most jackets and heavily insulated pants weren’t allowed; they don’t want you to be comfortable.

When the temperatures dropped, we were forced to come up with makeshift ways to keep ourselves warm. The showers were kept scalding hot during both summer and winter. We hated to shower, but we would fill our empty water bottles up with the nearly boiling water and put the bottles between our blankets when it was freezing outside. We also would save the plastic bags we found when we cleaned up the jail yard and wrap our feet with them, tucking hot water bottles inside to keep our feet warm while we slept.

Still, it was freezing, achingly cold. I was in so much pain that winter that now, when I’m cold, it reminds me of being there.

It’s hard to recall memories of that year. When I heard Friday that President Donald Trump had decided to pardon Arpaio, I was disgusted, dispirited and disappointed in the American political system.
http://www.startribune.com/my-experience-in-s...
Great opinion piece by an illegal immigrant in the Star Tribune. I'm from Arizona and the have some strict DWI laws. His first DWI would have been a weekend in tent city. He spent a year there, meaning he had multiple DWIs. Or the whole things is a lie. Do you know many Americans get killed each year by drunk Illegals? One is too many.
Cat Man

Hyden, KY

#4 Aug 28, 2017
Crassus wrote:
<quoted text>
Great opinion piece by an illegal immigrant in the Star Tribune. I'm from Arizona and the have some strict DWI laws. His first DWI would have been a weekend in tent city. He spent a year there, meaning he had multiple DWIs. Or the whole things is a lie. Do you know many Americans get killed each year by drunk Illegals? One is too many.
Maybe all correctional facilities should be operated that way. Having worked in the corrections system years ago it was a joke, the inmat s didn't seem to mind it. The recidivism rate was through the roof. Not much of a deterrent for many of the convicts.
Space ace

Minneapolis, MN

#6 Aug 29, 2017
Cat Man wrote:
<quoted text>

Maybe all correctional facilities should be operated that way. Having worked in the corrections system years ago it was a joke, the inmat s didn't seem to mind it. The recidivism rate was through the roof. Not much of a deterrent for many of the convicts.
Bingo!

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