Arizonans Deserves Better

Perhaps nothing better crystallizes the significance of yesterday's landmark judicial ruling mandating that infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio take a number of concrete and substantive steps to improve the conditions and level of health care delivered to prisoners at the Maricopa County Jail then a letter received by the ACLU of Arizona from a criminal justice and sociology professor in southern Kentucky.

The professor begins his letter by making clear that he has never been much of a fan of the ACLU. He writes that he’s a supporter of the death penalty and that he believes we often are too soft on the inmates in our nation’s prisons and jails. But then he acknowledges that a vast majority of the prisoners that spend time behind bars at some point or another return to their communities, that, as a result, rehabilitation needs to be a primary aspect of incarceration and that increased education and enhanced mental health for prisoners are in fact achievable goals if the taxpayer money used to lock them up was used effectively.

“In this case, you all are bringing attention to a bad situation that has been going on for too long,” the professor writes.

For decades, the Maricopa County Jail, and the facilities the house pre-trial detainees — people who have been arrested but not yet tried or convicted — has been a literal house of horrors. Medical and mental health care has been non-existent, handfuls of detainees have been forced into a single cell leaving some to sleep without mattresses or blankets, access to things like toilets and soap and toilet paper has been spotty and the food prisoners are forced to eat often is moldy.

Arpaio not only has exhibited no concern for maintaining these conditions, he has bragged about them and used them to bolster his claim that he is “America’s toughest sheriff.” But yesterday a federal judge ruled him to be in violation of the Constitution, ordered him to ensure that medical and mental health care is provided to those who need it, that prisoners receive uninterrupted access to prescription drugs, that they have access to clean toilets and soap and that he prove to the ACLU on a quarterly basis that he is doing so.

According to Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project and the ACLU’s lead counsel in the effort to force Arpaio to treat the prisoners in his care humanely, the ruling is a major victory for everyone who has or ever will have a loved one in Arpaio’s jail. But if the plight of the incarcerated in Maricopa County isn’t enough to move you, maybe the argument fronted by our professor-friend in Kentucky is.

Taxpayers deserve better than to have to prop up a jail system that only further damages the inmates who pass through its doors. Taxpayers deserve the criminal justice systems they pay for to effectively treat the men and women who spend time in them. Taxpayers deserve to have healthy and productive citizens returned to the communities in which they live.

Maybe now the taxpayers in Maricopa County finally will get what they deserve.

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Liberal hater

No, America deserves better than the American Criminal Liberties Union.

When America finally goes to hell in a handbasket it will be obvious that the ACLU will be leading the charge.

Why does the ACLU hate America?

raging granny Essie

With due respect to Liberal hater;

An eye for an eye makes the whole
blind - America will never go to
hell dear, long as the majority of
good citizens are peace-loving and that's how we will get back to where
we once stood; a Nation respected by all.

raging granny Essie

An eye for an eye makes the whole
blind - America will never go to
hell dear, long as the majority of
good citizens are peace-loving and that’s how we will get back to
where we once stood; a Nation
respected by the world.


Just because this man is doing his job and making people do the time for the crime. Rather than honey cooing criminals, the liberals have to start whining. The ACL(FUCK)U should be shut down. Tree hugging, cumbya singing, love me some illegals, we hate gringos organization. Why don't you move to "methico" and be save us from your liberal horse shit!


the ACLU is just as much a threat to the Security of this country as the Terriorists themselves. The Aclu should be on trail for Endangering National Security


"Effectively treat" "taxpayers deserve to have healthy and productive citizens returned to the communities" Hogwash! We deserve that the authorities keep them locked up under extreme conditions so they will think twice on doing something that might put them back in jail - not coddle them FOOLS! You'd think otherwise if one of those that the ACLU are so fond of had raped and beat/murdered your wife and kids,,, Actually - the ALCU is so PATHETIC, they would seek better services so that criminal would come out more "healthy and productive" to commit more heinous crimes!

John Michael

Reading these blog comments is very interesting and at the same time horiffic. I am an independant who finds good and bad at both ends of the two party system, but honestly the 'Right Wingers' who have posted in this blog are truely an example of the sickness of the conservative mind that has wrapped itself around the U.S. these past eight years. "Christ said love your enemies", and "forgive them".
How do right wingers, who always seem to be using Jesus to justify their actions, justify their comments? May the Lord heal their sickness. Amen Additionally, each human being is a creation of God and respect for their dignity is not limited to the unborn: it is a respect that the born are entitled to as well.


Something is truely wrong with you people. It will take you or one of your loved ones to go to jail before you realize people shouldn't fuckin be treated like dogs. They're people so they should still be treated like people. I'm with John Michael, you people need prayer!

Steve Garrett

The sad part is the fact that most prisoners do not know how to study, research or write and communicate effectively and fight for their rights.
I am an ex-prisoner and studied and learned how to file awesome effective greivances, and use reverse psychology while communicating with staff. I made guards so mad, was even kicked out of isolation for writing up rules infraction board and teaching everyone how to do it. Also rocked the medical system by utilizing state medical and nursing boards scaring medical staff cause I knew how to go after their medical careers. Then the medical board sent a letter to an inmate stating they did not have jurisdiction within the prisons. We took copies of this to legislative hearing and half the lawmakers wanted a copy on the spot. I also brought in U.S. department of Justice for all diabetics, and got inmates hospitals access to commissary, TV ,radio, envelopes, phone calls since they did nothing wrong. Also got all mental health inmates a pay raise while in RTU's created under Dunn v. Voinovich. Once they realized this I was treated like a king. At roll call they would show my picture and tell staff to leave me alone. Medical would treat me with so much respect, and actually listened to me as required under the Bill of patients rights. I showed the system how can an institutional inspector reneder any decision regarding medical care because they are not medically qualified, and we need a seperate independant medical greivance procedure.
The sad part to this is if there was 100 people like me in each prison, guards would be walking on egg shells, cause if an officer retaliated at me, I would simply put the word out and help assist and write 10-20 more greivances for others against same office causing them so much headache and diciplinary actions. They would scream at the inmates wanting to know who the author was. It was "me" but they did not dare come say anything to me. I filed criminal charges on staff, got 7 guards fired, doctor fired, nurse quit on me. testified in several retaliation cases even after release. So if inmates would just wise up and learn their rights and quit watching jerry springer and playing cards we could change the system. I also found huge loop hole where no prisoner in ohio never lost the right to vote. They threatened me with felony charges, and I begged them to charge me. My inspector was an ex-assistant attorney general and he backed off cause he knew I was right. It's a cut dry legal argument. Knowledge is power, and way more powerful than a badge :)
After released in 2000 I have only had a seat belt ticket, spoke at 3 colleges, been in all major newspapers, spoke at several legislative hearings, and help people with legal, consumer, workers comp, and workers rights. Even worked for an attorney.

Aine O'Brocken

The ACLU informed me that you do not become involved in individual cases--and then I found on your blog the story of Sameh Khouzam. Is it, then, that you only involve yourselves with the problems of those who have problems when they flee to this country for safety?
What about the thousands (literally) of mothers and children who are being persecuted in our courts of law--our supposed "justice" system, wherein gender bias and the fact that fathers tend to make more money than mothers, even though both may work the same job, work to the severe detriment of mothers who are trying to protect their children.
CASE IN POINT: The case of Elsa Newman in Maryland. She is in prison for a crime committed by someone else. Her two sons are in the physical custody of a father of whom the have revealed virtually unspeakabale sexual abuses, including using them to create child pornography as well as perpetrating every other abuse he can think of upon them.
CASE IN POINT: The case of Johanna von Geldern in Florida. The father of her child, Sophia, won a "spite" custody because he had wanted Johanna to have an abortion, rather than give birth to the child. Von Geldern, on the other hand, is allowed only supervised visits with the child. She has seen Sophia arrive for these visits with black eyes, bruises, welts, and once with fingernails cut so far into the quick that the child could not use her hands.
CASE IN POINT: The case of Eman and her mother, Lynda. Eman was court-ordered into the custody of a father who is HIV positive; nothing wrong with that, if he is careful. But the father incests the child. And there is something incredibly wrong with that.
Three sample cases. I can come up with more--thousands more--if I can just get someone to listen to me and try to do something about it.
Aine O'Brocken
P.O. Box 303
Ambody, Washington 98601
Phone: 360-247-5241

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