The Huffington Post was none too pleased with Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio over his cost-cutting efforts with his county jail’s Thanksgiving Day menu.
“Joe Arpaio Offers Inmates, Fed Only Twice A Day, 56-Cent Thanksgiving Meal,” author Shadee Ashtari cried. She then went on to quote an anonymous jail employee from another state entirely who allegedly spends 48 cents more per prisoner meal: “We don’t want to release angry inmates.”
Sheriff Joe spoke with me Friday and laughed: “I’m concerned because the meals had gone up a little,” he said. “These people are in jail for committing crimes.” The Sheriff went further and stated: “These people are lucky they get to eat their turkey-flavored soy substance. It’s Thanksgiving, so I gave them them a turkey-flavored meal.”
“Look,” he said. “We have one of the largest county jails in the country. We serve about 20,000 meals per day. Whatever we do costs our taxpayers a lot of money.”
The Sheriff said he intended to take the matter even further: “I’m going to go vegetarian with these guys.” He added: “That’s where the real savings will be.”
“I put American flags in each cell and we listen to the Star-Spangled Banner each day. We also play God Bless America.” He also said his inmates suffer strict consequences if they deface or destroy the American flag in their cells. He stated: “If they damage the flag, they go on a bread and water diet. We have about ten inmates who had to eat bread and water today.”
Another effort Sheriff Joe has in mind will likely upset his detractors even more; namely, Arpaio intends to begin separating U.S. military veterans from other inmates. “These guys served our country,” he explained. “I want them to have special training, job programs, I want to have a program that helps them get jobs after they serve their time,” he said.
Sheriff Joe added: “I’m sure any effort to house veterans separately from the others will get the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] after me again, but these guys fought for our country and I want to do something for them.”