Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Celebrating the 18th Year of America's Only Concentration Camp

Maricopa County's Concentration Camp
The Arizona Republic today notes with glee that Sheriff Arpaio's "Tent City", the United State's only concentration camp, turns 18 years old.  This atrocity on our soil was built under the guise cheaply easing the over crowding of the Maricopa County jail system in the early 1990's.  Comprised of surplus military tents, with no amenities of a standard jail and a lone guard tower, "Tent City" sent Commandant Arpaio's reputation as the "toughest sheriff" into the stratosphere.

Commandant Arpaio became a rock star in conservative circles for doing what we had condemned others for after World War II.  While repeatedly showing Newt Gingrich's "educational tapes", Commadant Arpaio was celebrated for his "innovated" jail by none other than Bill Maher via "Politically Incorrect".  And although "Tent City" was only supposed to be for "convicted" inmates, recently Commandant Arpaio started housing those suspected of being in this country illegally.

Conditions inside the concentration camp are notoriously inhumane.  While inmates are required to suffer temperatures that can reach 145 degrees inside of the tents, Sheriff Arpaio famously houses his guard dogs in air conditioned kennels within easy view of the inmates.  Inmates contend with scorpions and rattle snakes all in order to keep Commandant Arpaio in the political spotlight.

Strangely enough, the only people who have done any real investigation into the conditions of "Tent City" are the reporters of the Phoenix New Times.  Neither the state nor the feds have done anything to close down America's concentration camp.  No candidate for Maricopa County Sheriff dare talk about closing down "Tent City" for fear of losing votes.

Yes, jail is not supposed to be a luxury, but it is supposed to be humane.  Yes, except those suspected of being in this nation illegally, these are convicted inmates, but where is the justice in housing them in such conditions?  Should we be celebrating America's only concentration camp?

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