Tag: Maricopa County

Conservatives Shouldn’t Look Up to Joe Arpaio

 

Joe Arpaio was my sheriff for 23 years. His predecessors were ineffective and mildly corrupt, so Maricopa County voters embraced the tough-talking, no-nonsense lawman. And he started out pretty well. Sure, there was the shticky pink underwear, tent city, and constant media stunts, but it finally seemed like a dedicated sheriff was at the helm.

But power tends to corrupt. Arpaio started focusing more on media appearances than law enforcement. Scandals started popping up. The headline-grabbing antics got more bizarre. And a man who seemed to many like a conservative stalwart devolved into anything but. I wrote about the ex-sheriff for Monday’s USA Today. Here’s a preview:

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Why Are Private Prisons “Immoral?”

 

The Phoenix suburb of Mesa is Arizona’s third largest city, the spring training home to the Chicago Cubs, and, most famously, home to yours truly. Unlike most cities, our leadership is always looking for costs to cut, rather than expensive new programs to create. But their latest budget-minded initiative is angering the local powers that be.

For decades, Mesa has sent its misdemeanor offenders to Maricopa County jails, but that comes with a steep price tag. Over the past 10 years, the county has increased its daily housing prices by nearly 40 percent and its booking cost by more than 60 percent. So now the city is negotiating a deal with private contractor CoreCivic to house the inmates in a neighboring county. The move could save up to $2 million a year. Sounds like a win/win to me, but the county sheriff is seeing red ink:

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