I came across the weirdest news story about Sheriff Arpaio today. It is unbelievable. The country of New Zealand is asking the Sheriff for his advise about his Tent Cities and the inhumane way he treats prisoners. In case you are not aware, New Zealand is having numerous problems with their prison system and the way they treat the Native Maoris and Asian Immigrants. I just cannot imagine why anyone would want to mirror the tactics of the sheriff unless they want to instill fear, pain and injury to their inmates. The sheriff is well known for his poor treatment of prisoners. He has lost $41Million in court cases for wrongful deaths and abuses. As I read through this case, I reminded myself of some investigations underway regarding the misuse of county funds by the sheriff and his deputies for their trips to Central America. I´ve listed these articles (with links) below.
Maori Party Avoids Debate On Maori In Prison
Policy makers are destroying Maori and the Maori Party are underwriting the failure by refusing to front a Television debate on this important issue – says the Sensible Sentencing Trust. Trust Spokesman Garth McVicar was commenting after Maori Party co-leader, Dr. Pita Sharples declined an invitation to appear on a TVNZ Marae program looking at whether the New Zealand Justice system would benefit by adopting the Arizona Tent City prisons and chain gangs. Mr. McVicar said by avoiding the debate the Maori Party were failing to debate an extremely serious issue, “Maori are currently overrepresented in our Courts and Prisons, if any one race has been failed by the current system it is the Maori people.” The Marae program included a live interview with Sheriff Joe Arpaio who has been labeled the toughest Sheriff in America after implementing Tent Prisons and chain gangs. Ron Mark from NZ First, Garth McVicar from Sensible Sentencing Trust and Dr. Pita Sharples had been invited to participate in a debate following on from the interview with the Sheriff. Dr. Sharples declined and was replaced on the program by the Director of Prison Fellowship, Kim Workman who immediately accused the Sheriff of misrepresenting the re-offending rates and proceeded to call the Sheriff a liar.
Mr. McVicar said for someone who professes to be a Christian to blatantly call a Law enforcement officer of Sheriff Joes standing a liar was astounding. “We may all have varying opinions, but to call someone a liar in my opinion brings into question the credibility of the Director of Prison Fellowship and whether it is appropriate for Kim Workman to be in charge of the newly established Rethinking Crime and Punishment organization.” The Sensible Sentencing Trust are promoting a return to compulsory Military training combined with the Tent City prisons and chain-gangs as a means of combating a rising violent crime rate and escalating prison population.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio pays for the training of Honduran cops with RICO funds to the tune of around $32K, and counting
After obtaining 108 documents of MCSO expense reports through a public records request, it's now obvious from the notations on the reports themselves that the training of Honduran cops is being paid for by the MCSO through tens of thousands of dollars in RICO funds -- monies obtained through asset forfeiture proceedings under the state laws mirroring the Federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, the law which allows law enforcement agencies to seize assets and property from those involved in offenses such as money laundering, extortion or the drug trade. According to Arizona law, there are two revolving funds: one overseen by the Attorney General's office; and one handled by the County Attorney. The statutes involved also state that "Monies in any fund may be used for the funding of gang prevention programs, substance abuse prevention programs, substance abuse education programs and witness protection...or for any purpose permitted by federal law relating to the disposition of any property that is transferred to a law enforcement agency." I don't know how the training of foreign cops fits into that definition, but throughout the paperwork I received, expenses such as plane travel, luggage handling, hotel stays, dry cleaning, meals and in one case the flight of Honduran cops to Phoenix, are noted as being paid for by state RICO funds, and are approved by MCSO Chief of Business Operations Loretta Barkell and by Chief Deputy Hendershott.
At least nine members of the MCSO traveled to Honduras for weeks at a time, costing a total of $31,777.82 in expenses reimbursed by RICO funds. The cost to the taxpayer is likely higher. The official nature and detail of the expense reports suggests that these deputies were on official duty and on-salary during their extensive stays in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, or in the Caribbean paradise of Honduras' Bay Islands. I'll be looking further into whether or not overtime was paid to the officers during their stays, though this seems likely as their junkets to Central America often included weekends.