Christmas Music 24 Hours a Day is Cruel and Unusual, Inmates Tell Joe Arpaio

| by Allison Geller

For anyone who works in retail, round-the-clock Christmas music is a living nightmare. The 8,500 inmates at Maricopa County jail felt the same. Sheriff Joe Arpaio eventually conceded to numerous complaints by inmates and and scaled back the Christmas tunes from 24 to four hours a day.

Arpaio began the policy of constant Christmas music in the Phoenix, Ariz. jail in 2005 to force holiday cheer on the its inhabitants. It seems to have backfired, with inmates reporting feeling more irritated than jolly.

KPHO notes that the music selection also includes celebrations of other faiths besides Christianity, such as Mormon, Jewish and agnostic.

Six inmates have gone so far as to file lawsuits about the ceaseless holiday soundtrack, claiming it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and forces religious participation against their will. Four have been dismissed, and the other two will likely be dismissed in due time.

However, Arpaio did adjust his policy. Now inmates and staff will only be subject to Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Jingle Bell Rock for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.

For a sheriff known for his merciless treatment of inmates when it comes to his beleiefs, Arpaio showed a real embrace of the Christmas spirit with his change of heart.

Sources: AZ Central, KPHO, Examiner