Tent City, the jail facility set up in Arizona by controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, will soon be no more.
“This facility became more of a circus atmosphere for the general public. Starting today, the circus ends, and the tents come down,” the new sheriff, Paul Penzone, said in a news conference Tuesday.
The closing will end a significant piece of former Sheriff Arpaio’s legacy, who opened the complex in 1993 to ease overcrowding in jails. Arpaio held the office for six terms before Penzone beat him last November.
Penzone plans to close Tent City within six months. He assured no inmates will be released and estimated that half of them will be moved to other jails within the next 45 to 60 days.
One tradition started by Arpaio, making inmates wear pink underwear, has already been slowly phased out.
After Tuesday’s announcement, Arpaio criticized Penzone for calling Tent City “a circus.”
“I think he’s insulting all the circus people,” Arpaio said. “That’s disgusting, calling it a circus.”
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